Halloween Home Safety Tips from Home Inspectors

Home Inspector with US Inspect

While many of us are busy working on costumes or stocking up on candy, anyone who is planning on leaving their light on to welcome trick-or-treaters this year should also be taking a moment to make sure homes, front walks, and yards are ready for foot traffic. So from all of us at U.S. Inspect who are used to looking for these issues on a daily basis, below are some things to keep in mind.

Trick-or-TreatersThere are a few things that homeowners should consider in order to make their homes and entryways safe for all those ghosts and goblins--especially the ones wearing long capes, large masks, and flammable costume fabrics! (None of which are a great idea, by the way. See a great example at the right).

There's nothing surprising here, but it's a great idea to take a moment to make sure your home is ready for Halloween in the following ways:

  • Fix wobbly stairs. The last thing you want on a night when you KNOW you are going to have a ton of foot-traffic, is a chance for anyone to lose their footing. And if you are like me and you even trip up occasionally in places in your yard, just imagine how someone who doesn't know the property well will fare (especially if they are running, which is not usually how people approach your door, but is often the case on Halloween).
  • Make sure your home is very well lit. Not only will this send a message to your neighborhood that you are participating in the night's festivities, but it will also ensure that those little tykes can see where they are going as they approach your door. Have your porch light on and the walkway lights too, if you have them. If your property is particularly dark, you might consider placing a temporary spotlight somewhere (they have the kind that spike right into your lawn--just make sure it's out of the way of traffic).
  • Make sure handrails/railings are secure. As your guests mount the stairs and grab onto the railing, it should not wobble, or--for goodness sake--come loose in anyway. Fix and/or reinforce it as necessary ASAP. (This is also something guests visiting your home anytime of year will probably appreciate).
  • Clear all walkways. OK this is a no-brainer. Make sure your walkways are free of sticks, stones and any other debris that could be a tripping hazard. Keep in mind that even things like potted mums, for example, can be an unwelcome surprise in the dark. It' best to save your decorations for well lit areas that are out of the way of little feet.
  • Clear "alternate" walkways. Now think back to your own trick-or-treating days...how often did you use the appropriate paths, driveways, and sidewalks to get from house to house? Uh-huh. I thought so. Chances are, your front walk won't be the only way children get to your front door this year, so be sure to check around your entire property and trim low tree limbs, support any wires, put away garden hoses, etc.
  • Avoid creating fire hazards with your decorations. Keep lit Jack-O-Lanterns well out of reach of young children and far from clothing of tots gathered at your door. Any candles etc. should be well away from areas where children will be walking or standing. And hey, they have so many great battery-operated candles these days, you might skip the fire hazard all-together.
  • ADDENDUM (Added 10/28/12). For those on the east coast, Hurricane Sandy seems to be scheduled to knock on our doors this Halloween as well. Your home will undoubtedly need some EXTRA attention and care prior to being ready for Trick-or-Treaters. Please take additional time and measures to prepare your home if you have suffered damage. 

Posted By: Chrissy Doremus, U.S. Inspect Blog

Check out these other recent posts on our blog:

How To Use Pinterest to Plan Your Next Home Project
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Re-Blogged 5 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Mark Montross 10/28/2012 12:54 AM
  2. Chris Smith 10/28/2012 05:47 AM
  3. Donna Foerster 10/28/2012 06:12 AM
  4. Evelyn Kennedy 10/28/2012 10:05 AM
  5. Michael Dagner 09/29/2015 02:45 PM
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M. Lynn Delatte
Developers Realty - Broadview Heights, OH

This is especiall important for people getting hit with Sandy- If you have minor damage and the children will be out, it gives you a good deadline for the pick-up.

Oct 27, 2012 10:42 PM #5
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Chrissy, those are great safety tips for Hallween or anytime!

Oct 27, 2012 11:07 PM #6
Hella Mitschke Rothwell
(831) 626-4000 - Honolulu, HI
Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker
Chrissy: and be ready for those early arrivals. Many parents of very young kids start earlier before it gets dark.
Oct 27, 2012 11:56 PM #7
Cyndi Carver
PRSI Choice Gallery Homes - Bellevue, WA
Newcastle & East Renton Specialist

Thank You for this post. This was a great reminder to make Holloween a fun and SAFE event for the children.

Oct 27, 2012 11:57 PM #8
Short Sales, Foreclosure & Bank Owned Real Estate

Chrissy Happy Halloween to you! Great, excellent tips for all of us. Great post!

Oct 28, 2012 12:24 AM #9
Nan Jester
Exit Real Estate Gallery Jacksonville Beach, FL - Jacksonville Beach, FL
Realtor, Exit Real Estate Gallery

These blogs that are seasonal and so very informative are just great. I am sure we all need the reminders.

Oct 28, 2012 12:25 AM #10
Mark Montross
Catamount Realty Group - Burlington, VT
Listing and Buyer Specialist

Chrissy, these are great tips. I bet most people don't think about making sure that their railings are propertly secured, that their staits aren't wobbly, etc. We certainly don't want anyone getting hurt. I am going to re-blog this.

Oct 28, 2012 12:50 AM #11
Dave Brice
Pacific West Home Inspections - Salmon Arm, BC

What is so happy about halloween? Its all about devil and satanic worship. How can one be happy about that?

Oct 28, 2012 01:43 AM #12
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

All good stuff that can be used to market your business and help kids stay safe too.

Oct 28, 2012 01:58 AM #13
Kathy Stoltman
Rockwood Realty - Ventura, CA
Ventura County Real Estate Consultant 805-746-1793

I think your list is a must read for homeowners, items that need to be addressed at anytime of the year.

Oct 28, 2012 02:41 AM #14
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

I would think that Halloween will be cancelled on portions of the east coast. Booooo.

Oct 28, 2012 03:23 AM #15
Arizona Home Group RE/MAX Excalibur
The Arizona Home Group - Scottsdale, AZ

Chrissy, Thanks for the tips!  The benefits can carry through all of the winter holiday activities.

Oct 28, 2012 03:24 AM #16
Chrissy Doremus ~ US Inspect ~
US Inspect - Chantilly, VA
Residential Property Inspections

Yes Lyn, I'm afraid I think you will be right. Last year trick-or-treating for my children was postponed due to a large winter storm that devastated the area, and I think this year, the same think might happen due to Hurricane Sandy.

Oct 28, 2012 04:26 AM #17
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

This might be my favorite Daily Drop, fun ideas and great tips. You are so right.

Oct 28, 2012 04:48 AM #18
Chris Smith
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage - New Tecumseth, ON
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta

Great and timely information, Chrissy.  I have to re-blog this for homeowners in South Simcoe

Oct 28, 2012 05:42 AM #19
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Chrissy, you have given us a great check list for Halloween!  I will pass it along!

Oct 28, 2012 09:41 AM #20
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


What a great blog.  We all need to be aware of the hazards that kids may face when they come to your home for Trick or Treat.

Oct 28, 2012 09:59 AM #21
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224
Chrissy- came over thanks to Evelyn's reblog. What a great checklist for Halloween safety regarding our homes. And now with Hurricane Sandy approaching, it will be important to be alert!
Oct 28, 2012 10:27 AM #22
Steve Higgins
RE/MAX Kelowna - Kelowna, BC

Hi Chrissy,

That is a good detailed list to make your home safe for Halloween, some of the list should be used as regular home maintenance.

Oct 28, 2012 11:52 AM #23
Rob Renk
Center Street Lending - McKinney, TX
AE | Fast Fix/Flip Loans for Residential Investors

Happy Halloween.  Great tips for us all.

Oct 28, 2012 08:54 PM #24
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