When most people think “Halloween,” their minds turn to jack-o’-lanterns, kids in costume, and the challenge of not eating an entire bowl of candy before the night is through. Most families celebrate Halloween in good-natured fun, but there is a darker side to the holiday. Reported incidences of property crime are 17-24% higher and violent crimes are reported a shocking 50% more on October 31st than any other day on average. Halloween also consistently ranks among the top three days of the year for juvenile pedestrians to be hit by cars. Additionally, the very nature of the holiday encourages children to speak with strangers and brings unfamiliar faces to your front door, presenting unique security concerns regarding your home and your family.
Everyone deserves to have a safe and fun Halloween, so to assist you with preparing your home and family for trick-or-treating, we’ve put together a list of simple tips to help you secure what matters most.
- Young children should always have a chaperone. It seems like common sense, but with the high percentage of car-related injuries that occur on Halloween, keeping your young ones close doesn’t just save them from getting lost—it can also help them to avoid a serious accident.
- Older children should stay in a group. If you kids are old enough to venture off by themselves, make sure they stay in a small group, as there is safety in numbers. Sticking to a pre-designated route and having multiple buddies tag along can limit the chances of someone wandering off and getting lost. Additionally, children in larger groups tend to attract less unwanted attention than those traveling alone.
- Carry a cell phone. It’s easy to get split up when trick-or-treating, especially if your children are several years apart. If your group does split up, making sure each party has at least one cell phone can help keep everyone in touch in the event of an emergency or just to check in.
- Bundle up. No kid wants to wear a coat over their costume, but Halloween is awfully chilly in Michigan. For example, the average daytime temperature for Grand Rapids on the 31st is only 54 degrees and that temperature drops precipitously once the sun starts setting. Have your children wear layers under their clothing if possible and bring a coat, hat, and mittens just in case.
- Inspect your candy before enjoying it. Many urban myths describe the wide range of assorted horrors kids have found in their Halloween haul, and even though the vast majority of these are unfounded, strange and dangerous things have been dropped into candy bags. Check your candy with your children and discard anything that looks as though it may have been tampered with (or outright opened.) Pro tip: Inspect the candy by yourself so you can steal your favorite treats inconspicuously.
- Keep your house well-lit. While a porch light is often a sign to prospective trick-or-treaters that you’re passing out candy, you may want to consider turning the rest of your lights on whether you’re participating or not. A well-lit premise is a proven deterrent against potential vandals or worse, and if you are passing out candy, it can help illuminate your front yard for the children and their parents.
- Remove obstacles from your yard. Given how dark it gets early, it’s for the best that you remove garden hoses, toys, tools, and the like from your yard. (As much as we’d love for kids to use our pathways, we all know they rarely do.)
- Lock away your valuables. On the same token, it’s best to lock up and secure anything of value that you traditionally keep outside. Car vandalism and theft are two common crimes reported on Halloween night, so it’s best to put your cars in the garage and lock them as soon as you’re able.
- Leave Rover inside. Your favorite pet is also likely to get (overly) excited for Halloween, so it’s often best to keep them away from trick-or-treaters to avoid accidental injury (for them or the kids) or a vet trip involving canines and empty bowls of candy bars.
- Put out those jack-o’-lanterns. We recommend using electric candles or lights for your festive gourds, but if you prefer real candles, set your jack-o’-lanterns away from anything remotely flammable and be sure to extinguish the flame once you’ve wrapped up distributing candy.
Save yourself the stress with an EPS Security system
Halloween isn’t the only holiday that sees a spike in crime or an increased risk in fire. The best way to protect your home is to install a comprehensive security system. EPS Security smart home systems secure your home with state-of-the-art intrusion and fire detection devices. They also support cameras with footage viewable from your phone, video doorbells to check out and communicate with guests at your door, and home automation technology for scheduled lock and light activation. Don’t spend your holidays stressed out about what might go wrong. Let EPS Security worry for you and discover your customized security solution nearly 65 years in the making.