The spookiest time of year is in full-swing. Our previous blog highlighted safety tips for your Halloween events and outings, but this time we’d like to focus on safety tips for around the house.
For many, going to the pumpkin patch and selecting that perfect pumpkin is the kick-off to the Halloween season.
Carving that choice pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern is a fun, time-honored tradition. However, we all know the danger it can present, especially with the prospect of children handling sharp tools. Almost every store sells special pumpkin-carving kits to help avoid the need to use big kitchen knives.
Even with these kits, precautionary measures are necessary because the blades still have sharp edges that can cause injury if handled improperly.
Here are some general safety tips for pumpkin carving from the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH).
- Choose an area that is well-lit and free of clutter.
- Wash hands and tools prior to use, and make sure both are thoroughly dried before starting. Moisture can cause slipping.
- Make sure a responsible and attentive adult is present to supervise and anticipate any precarious situations.
- Turn off the TV, get smartphones and smart tablets out of sight to help children focus and reduce distractions that could lead to injury.
- Leave the major carving to the adults: Children can draw the design and participate in gutting the pumpkin. Depending on the age and the child, they may be allowed to use the kit tools to carve or scrape small designs.
- Adults, if you are using a kitchen knife, sharper is not always better: The knife will easily pierce the pumpkin however, it can be harder to remove from the thick skin, requiring some amount of force and the knife usually dislodges rapidly. If your hand is in the wrong spot, this could cause injury.
More recently, some have taken to decorating their pumpkin with paints or accessories to avoid the hassle, potential dangers, and mess of carving a pumpkin.
Painting pumpkins can allow children, especially younger ones, to take a bigger part in creating and making their design come to life. It can also allow more flexibility in the design for most of us who aren’t expert carvers.
Not skilled with painting, either? Pumpkins can be decorated with anything, really, or a combination of methods.
The only rule people should truly follow is to make sure there is a responsible adult present to guide or help children, for everyone’s safety. Though knives may not be present, accessories may require hot glue guns, or you may just want to make sure your house doesn’t get painted along with the pumpkin.
Another thing to consider in the realm of safety is your property and the path to your door.
Whether you have more traditional decorations, or go all-out to transform your property into a haunted scene or zombie danger zone, be sure to take extra precaution since you will be inviting strangers onto your property at night.
- Make sure the path to your door is clear and well-lit.
— Sweep leaves, branches, and twigs out of the way to prevent tripping hazards.
— Even if your yard is transformed into a haunted space, highlight the pathway with
lights on the ground to guide people to your door.
- Be sure any electrical cables are away from the path or highlighted for people to see and avoid.
- Use battery-powered lights for outdoor jack-o-lanterns to avoid fire hazards.
- Keep pets inside and away from the front door so they do not escape or even jump on or bite trick-or-treaters.
Though Halloween is full of “trick-or-treaters,” we can only hope that the tricks you receive are when you open the door and hear the greeting.
Unfortunately, some of us have to deal with actual pranksters in the Halloween season, but USA Today reviews what you can do to protect yourself.
- Review your homeowner’s and even car insurance or talk to your agent and understand exactly what is covered (e.g., vandalism, property damage, theft, etc.).
- Discuss what would warrant an insurance claim; your deductible may be higher than the cost of the actual loss.
- Keep receipts for outdoor decorations purchased. In case items go missing, you may be covered by insurance, but be sure to also file a police report as well.
- If possible, park car(s) in the garage or a well-lit area to deter an eager prankster.
It may sound like a lot to review or keep in mind, but with all of these precautions in place, you can earn peace of mind and also have a strategy in place, just in case.
Check out these references for further reading:
“Pumpkin Carving Safety.” American Society for Surgery of the Hand. Retrieved 26 October 2017. http://www.assh.org/handcare/hand-safety/pumpkin-carving
“Halloween: Red Cross Has Trick-or-Treat Safety Tips.” American Red Cross. Retrieved 26 October 2017. http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Red-Cross-Offers-Tips-For-Safe-Halloween-Fun
“Halloween Safety Tips.” American Academy of Pediatrics. Retrieved 25 October 2017. https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/news-features-and-safety-tips/Pages/Halloween-Safety-Tips.aspx
“5 Halloween Pranks and How Insurance Can Help.” USA Today. Retrieved 26 October 2017. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2017/10/22/5-halloween-hazards-and-how-insurance-can-help/763998001/