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Handing Out Halloween Candy? Give Your Yard a Safety Check

a group of kids trick or treating in a yard
Sean Locke Photography/Shutterstock

Handing out candy is a great way to enjoy Halloween, all from the comfort of your home. But you want to be sure you’re handing out goodies and not head injuries: Follow along and give your yard a safety check before the big day.

Keep in mind that your yard is probably safe on a day-to-day basis. However, on Halloween, it’s dark, kids are wearing masks—which limits their visibility—and they’re enthusiastically running around in packs. That’s why being extra safe here is so important.

Even though the chances of an accident happening on your property are slim, especially if you do all the prep work in advance, it’s still a good idea to make sure your homeowners or renters insurance is up to date. You can never be too prepared.

Common Hazards

Look over your yard for any problem areas, examining it thoroughly during the day. Even though you hope most kids will stick to the path, plenty of them will run amuck—dizzy with the desire to get as much candy as possible. So make sure to check every inch of your yard, just to be safe.

Here are the major areas to focus on, which might differ based on the style and layout of your lawn.

  • Tree roots: Exposed roots and tree stumps are tripping hazards. You can light them up, surround them with decorations, or use zombie caution tape to block off the whole area.
  • Sidewalk/path: Are there cracks in the concrete? Bumps? If you can’t fix it, then make sure it’s well-lit.
  • Electrical cords: You might have extra of these around due to electrical decorations. Make sure they’re taped down, or opt for battery operated decorations whenever possible.
  • Rocks: These won’t be as visible in the dark, so make sure to illuminate them or surround them with decorations.
  • Decorations: We’ll talk more about decorations below. Just make sure they don’t become a hazard in themselves.
  • Holes: Are there any sizable holes in your yard? If so, fill them in, or put a decoration over them.
  • Branches: Someone can easily whack their head on low hanging branches. Consider hanging glow sticks or lights from them.
  • Garden hose: Roll it up and tuck it away.
  • Backyard: If you want to keep your kids from running into your backyard, put up some Halloween caution tape or set up a barrier with decorations.

When in doubt, decorate to route kids away from the things you don’t want them to fall on, into, or otherwise be injured by.

Safe Decorations

Halloween wouldn’t be complete without the fun and spooky decorations. But it’s important to be mindful when setting them up. You want to make sure everything is secured, so nothing falls over or blows away. Decorations that might seem harmless to you, looking at them from an adult height and size, might not feel so harmless when they tip over on a small child.

Also, think about your hanging decorations, like skeletons. Kids could pull or tug on them, and then get hit in the head. You can still use them, just hang them out of reach.

You can also, as we mentioned above, use decorations to help kids avoid certain areas of your yard. If an area of your yard has a bunch of rocks, surround it with tombstones or a row of pumpkins.

Light It Up

kids walking down a sidewalk lined with lights
Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock

We say, go nuts with the lights! Plenty of great options are out there, from skeletons to pumpkins. We suggest using LED battery-powered lights, to avoid the need for long extension cords.

Use the lights to illuminate any problematic areas; hang lights on branches or around the mailbox, for example, so kids don’t accidentally walk into anything. (This might seem silly, but really, a lot of kids can’t see with those masks on!)

Solar-powered ground lights can help show a clear pathway to the front door, helping keep kids on track. This will hopefully discourage them from running across your yard.

Make sure to do a test run of the lights a few nights before Halloween, ensuring they all work as intended. If not, go buy more lights. Visibility will go a long way in helping to keep everyone safe.

Avoid Fire

Lots of non-flame alternatives, such as battery-powered candles, are available. Avoiding real candles and flames altogether is best because those carry a higher risk of getting knocked over or of a cape touching one and then catching on fire.

Pets

Secure your pets, even if they’re super friendly. Most people are nervous when a barking dog is at the door. And even an always predictable dog might act differently with a mob of kids at the front door.


It’s important to prep your yard for Halloween, to help keep everyone as safe as possible. Our tips are just the start—make sure to check for any problem areas that might get in the way of kids having a great Halloween experience. Then you can put on your own costume and wait for the fun to begin.

Jill Chafin Jill Chafin
Jill Chafin is a freelance writer, aerialist, dancer, food enthusiast, outdoor adventurer, and mama, based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Read Full Bio »

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