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Beware of dangers when decorating for Halloween

Halloween has become a time to string up lights, plug in fog machines and create a yard that is scare-worthy to any trick-or-treater. But beware of the hidden electrical dangers that could spoil your holiday.   

 “We often store our annual decorations away in the garage, basement or storage shed, and cords can become damaged in storage from extreme weather or even by a mouse,” says Molly Hall, Energy Education Council director.Replace any damaged decorations.     

Safe Electricity offers these tips to make your Halloween safe and fun:

  • Inspect each electrical decoration. Check for cracking, fraying or bare wires; they may cause a serious shock or start a fire.
  • Replace damaged decorations.
  • Make sure lights, animated displays or other electrical outdoor products are Underwriters Laboratory (UL) approved and marked for outdoor use.
  • Follow the instructions that come with electrical decorations.
  • Don’t overload extension cords or allow them to run through water.
  • Plug outdoor lights and decorations into outlets protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). If your outlets don’t have them, contact a qualified electrician to install them or use portable GFCIs instead.
  • Keep cords out of walkways to avoid tripping hazards.
  • Turn off electrical decorations and lights before leaving home or going to sleep. Consider using a timer.
  • When decorating outside, make sure to look up and check that you and any equipment, such as ladders, are at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines.     

Avoid any dangerous tricks this Halloween by enjoying your treats and decorating safely. Get more safety tips at SafeElectricity.org.