Decorate Your Home Safely & Avoid Electrical Shock Injury
Decorating for Halloween has become increasingly popular. As you drive through your neighborhood, you’ve likely noticed many people setting up elaborate Halloween displays, including inflatables, lights, and even animatronics. Inside, lights, smoke machines, and more abound. When it comes to decorating, Halloween is beginning to rival Christmas. But what does the increase in seasonal décor mean for your electrical safety?
Common Halloween electrical hazards:
- Lighted outdoor decorations
- Lighted indoor decorations
- Inflatable lawn decorations
- Flammable décor
- Smoke machines
- Overuse or incorrect use of extension cords
- Overloaded outlets and circuits
Because so many Halloween décor items are powered, either by battery or directly from your home’s electrical system, there is an increased risk of electrical shock injury and electrical fires. Therefore, it is important that you and your family keep electrical safety at the forefront of your mind while decorating your home and yard this Halloween.
Keep reading for our top three Halloween electrical safety tips!
Tip #1: Turn the Lights Off When You Leave the House or Go to Bed
Have you ever noticed that lightbulbs get warm when left on for an extended period? Though this is not generally an issue, when it comes to Halloween decorations, this can be a potential fire hazard, especially decorations that are designed to be draped over lights or those with built-in lighting, such as Halloween wreaths, spiderwebs, etc. Many Halloween decorations are highly flammable, and if your incandescent bulbs heat up, they can cause these decorations to melt and even ignite.
Always be present when your Halloween decorations are plugged in and/or on. If you are leaving the house or going to bed, make sure to turn off all electronic decorations and décor items (also check for lit candles!). If you notice that a decoration or light is overheating, it may indicate that there is a fault in it or that it is broken. Discontinue using these items and either replace them or contact the manufacturer to see if the product is under warranty.
Review our blog to learn more about the common causes of electrical fires.
Tip #2: Read Warning Labels & Instructions for all Décor, Interior & Exterior
Review the manufacturer-provided instructions and warning labels when you purchase a new Halloween decoration. Electrical shock and electrical fires are often caused by improper use of an electrical component. For example, using an indoor decoration outside where it may be wet or damp. We recommend keeping instruction manuals and warning cards in an easily accessible folder so you can review the instructions each year when you pull your decorations back out.
Relatedly, avoid stringing multiple extension cords together when powering your Halloween decorations, and do not use outlet extenders. This can help you avoid overloading the circuits, which can contribute to electrical fire risks. Furthermore, when plugging electronic decorations or lighting in, use GFCI outlets to help reduce the risk of electrical shock.
Tip #3: Teach Your Children About Electrical Safety
Halloween is a fun, exciting time. Whether you and your kids are attending a Halloween party or enjoying a movie marathon at home, teaching your kids about electrical safety can help you have a safe, fun holiday. In particular, make sure they understand the unique hazards that Halloween presents. For example, spend some time showing children where extension cords and other hazards are so they can avoid them. And always supervise small children.
If you have battery-powered decorations, ensure that the battery compartments are screwed closed, and do not let children play with them unsupervised. Furthermore, keep spare batteries out of children’s reach. Every year, thousands of children are hospitalized after ingesting batteries, which may even be fatal. This is especially true with button batteries that are both a choking hazard and toxic if ingested.
Have more questions about electrical safety this Halloween season? Call Lightning Bug Electric; our electricians are here to help.