Pumpkins & perils: preparing for a fun & safe Halloween

With Halloween just around the corner, we offer Ray Villafane’s gallery of pumpkins for inspiration. Ray just might be the pumpkin master – so his videos of pumpkin carving tips might be instructive. Or you can see him in action – he was featured on CBS news.

For more pumpkin carving inspiration and advice, we point you to Extreme Pumpkin, which has some terrific and suitably terrifying / horrifying examples of bizarre pumpkins (…but as your insurance advisers, we advise you to take great care with any of the power tool and pyrotechnic options.) The Pumpkin Gutter’s galleries are also impressive, offering a combination of artistry, humor, and horror. And if you are of a mind to do-it-yourself, check out Pumpkin Carving 101, which had a lot of useful how-to information.
To reduce the risk of fire, we recommend glow sticks or battery-powered flickering LED lights to illuminate your pumpkin.

Have fun, stay safe
It’s important to have fun on this great holiday – but it’s also important to be safe. While we are focusing on zombies and monsters, it’s important not to forget about the more traditional hazards to people and property. Courtesy of the Independent Agents & Brokers of America, we offer the following safety tips:

  • Prevent Accidents: Remove or move lawn furniture, or any other obstacles, to avoid accidents or damage. Ensure your home’s entry is in good condition, free of loose or broken pieces on stairwells and walkways to avoid trick-or-treaters’ injuries on your property.
  • Fire Dangers: Prevent fires by making sure pumpkins containing candles are placed at a distance where a child’s costume cannot be ignited or a curious guest may tip it over. Extinguish all candles before going to bed and use battery operated lights wherever possible.
  • Costume Safety: Be careful with costumes. All disguises should be made from flame-resistant materials and shouldn’t be too long or contain sharp accessories. Try to avoid masks that may obscure vision and try to use hypo-allergenic make-up instead.
  • See and Be Seen: Encourage each trick-or-treater and adult chaperones to carry a flashlight. Apply light-reflecting material to costumes.
  • Don’t be a Scary Driver: Drive sober, slowly and even more carefully than usual on Halloween. Watch for children who may be running or wearing dark costumes in the road.
  • Power in Numbers: When walking, travel in groups and cross only at corners and crosswalks—never between parked cars—and stay on well-lit streets.
  • Unwelcomed Guests: Scare away potential property vandals who often use the chaos of Halloween night to strike by keeping outdoor lights on.
  • Pet Safety: Keep pets inside. Warn your children to stay away from animals as they go door-to-door. Halloween night can be stressful, even on the friendliest dog or cat or other creatures.
  • Candy Inspection: Cavities aren’t the only candy-related risks on Halloween. Inspect all children’s treats. Never eat unwrapped items, collect candy only from those you know and ask the local police department if it offers a candy x-ray and/or inspection service. Throw away any suspicious candy.
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