Scary and Safe Halloween


It’s beginning to look a lot like…

Wait a minute. We have 70 days until Christmas, so surely folks aren’t decorating for the winter holidays just yet. However, Halloween is rapidly approaching and people everywhere are lighting up the night with spectacular and spooky displays. Last year, Americans spent over 7.4 billion dollars on Halloween. While this number includes candy and costumes, one can assume that part of the increase over the years is at least partially due to the rise in popularity of decorations, including lights. In fact, one estimate declared a 10.8% average rise in spending per year from 2005 to 2012, which adds up to a lot of haunted homes!

If your home or business joins in on the frightening fun, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Safety first! We know that we’ve said it before, but it is vital to remember that when it comes to electricity, safety is the number one consideration.

  • Inspect your lights. Don’t take a chance with frayed or cracked electrical cords, as they are a major fire hazard. Replace burned-out bulbs so that the empty sockets don’t cause overheating.
  • Use the right lights. Indoor lights don’t belong outdoors because they are not resistant to weather. Outdoor lights are too hot for indoor use. No matter what they say, do not run lights or cords through water.
  • Don’t overload your circuits. The general rule of thumb is that you want to stay within 80% of the Amp capacity to ensure that breakers don’t trip. Many advise stringing no more than three strings of lights together, but it is a little more complicated than that, depending upon the strings and the circuit. This resource can help you determine the right number.
  • Hang lights properly. Staples and nails can damage the wires’ protective coating, creating a fire hazard. Keep an eye on wires for damage from weather or animals, and don’t leave them up too long.

Safety second, too! Remember that little ghouls and goblins may be visiting, so make sure your walkways are clear and that there is enough light so folks can clearly see their path. Minimize blind spots for drivers and pedestrians.

Save big. No one wants to waste energy or see a huge bill arrive in the mail. Consider CFL lights, which last longer and draw less energy. Likewise, LED lights can be costly, but energy savings are substantial and the bulbs remain cool so that you can be more creative.

We wish you a Happy Halloween and Holiday season. Whether you light up the night or enjoy the displays of others, may all your scares and surprises be fun ones.

Other sources: This Old House, CPSC

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