Angie's List: Get your house ready for Halloween

Angie’s Halloween tips for homeowners: 

  • -Clear your yard of ladders, hoses, dog leashes and flower pots that can trip trick-or-treaters. Also, check for low tree limbs, support wires and hard-to-see fences between yards.
  • -Opt for a plug-in or battery-powered jack-o-lantern instead of using a live candle. If you insist on a live flame, be sure it is away from any possible exposure to trick-or-treaters' costumes, or where they will be walking or standing.
  • -Secure your pets indoors, or arrange for them to stay somewhere else. Some pets become frightened; others may become territorial or even aggressive towards trick-or-treaters.
  • -Check that the path and stairs to your front door are well illuminated and clear of obstacles. While it’s tempting to create a dark and spooky home theme, poor lighting can be a major safety hazard.
  • -Consider healthier treat options like low-fat crackers, single-serve boxes of cereal, packaged fruit rolls or raisins; or non-food treats such as (unsharpened) pencils, stickers or coins.
  • -Follow community guidelines for trick-or-treating hours. If it’s dark outside, provide your child with a flashlight or glow stick to help them see steps and other obstructions.
Halloween costume tips: 
  • -Make sure the costume is made of fire-retardant materials. Avoid loose hanging parts such as sashes, shredded parts or overly long sleeves, which can easily catch fire from a jack-o-lantern or candle or can get caught on something.
  • -Check the costume’s warning label. If it contains lead, choose another costume. Lead poisoning can cause irreversible brain damage to young children.
  • -Costumes should be loose, so warm clothes can be worn underneath without restricting arm or leg movement. If your child does wear a mask, be sure holes for the eyes, nose and mouth are large enough for comfort and that they don’t restrict vision or breathing.
  • -Costumes that are too long and oversized shoes are tripping hazards. Avoid both.
  • -Safety experts recommend wearing makeup instead of a mask, but some Halloween makeup products also contain lead. Check the packaging closely before you buy. Also, test any new makeup products in a small area of the inside of the arm a few days before you intend to use it to check for reactions from latex or other adhesive allergies.
  • -Consider hair-coloring products, such as a temporary spray, as an alternative to wigs. Check the product for information on washing and any concerns for dyed or chemically treated hair.
  • -Outfits should be made with light-colored materials. Put a few strips of reflective tape on the costume – and on their candy bag – to make children more visible.
  • -Attach your child’s name, address and telephone number (including area code) to his or her clothes in case your child gets lost or separated from you.
  • -Knives, swords and other accessories should be made from cardboard or flexible materials. Do not allow children to carry sharp or heavy objects.
  • -If you're planning to wear decorative contact lenses – which have become a popular Halloween accessory – contact an eye care professional to ensure that they are properly fitted and are appropriate for you to wear. Angie’s List now rates medical service providers, including optometrists and ophthalmologists.


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