Don’t let Halloween get *real* scary for your kids


We’re just one sleep away from the scariest, spookiest night of the year – check out our spooky guide for local Halloween happenings. Fake scary is great fun, but you don’t want things to get real scary for your kids. Make sure your activities don’t include a visit the scariest place of all – your local emergency room. On Halloween, for every adult, job #1 is kid safety.

The National Safety Council (NSC) offers this truly frightening statistic:

“Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. In 2017, October ranked No. 2 in motor vehicle deaths by month, with 3,700. July is No. 1, with 3,830 deaths.”

One of the contributing factors may be that so many Halloween activities take place after dark. The NSC shows this pictorial of when accidents occur, created using federal data.

See more on Halloween Safety On and Off the Road, a sheet of tips to protect kids from the NSC.

If your kids are trick or treating at dusk or dark, make sure that their costumes and masks don’t impede vision and don’t have any tripping hazards. Be sure they carry flashlights and it would be a good idea to put reflective tape on dark costumes. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers more Halloween Safety Tips to help you protect children from dangerous costumes and other seasonal hazards.

In addition to traffic safety, pumpkin carving injuries, trips & falls and choking injuries are all among some of the most common Halloween-related injuries that could make for a scary unplanned visit to the emergency room. Check out our roundup of tips on keeping your kids safe from our prior post: Pumpkins, perils & more. And if you have pets, the holiday holds many dangers for them too – check out our Halloween Perils for Pets.

The Children’s Safety Network offers the following Halloween safety infographic:

Spooky guide to New England Halloween happenings


Halloween scene with pumpkins

Get your fright on! Between now and early November, there’s no shortage of spooky, haunted happenings to scare and delight you. Whatever your age – young, old or in-between, there is something for you in our guide. We’ve selected a few  highlights and included some general guides with even more ideas. But if spooky things are not your cup of tea, be sure to see our other ideas for how to enjoy the fall season in New England.

Providence, RI
Roger Williams Park Zoo’s Jack O’Lantern Spectacular – “More than 5,000 intricately carved pumpkins featuring scenes of wizards, fairytales, and the luminaries of great myths and legends, alongside superheroes, and historical figures who changed our world. Revel in the sights and sounds of the season, and celebrate this otherworldly experience. NEW THIS YEAR – join us for special event themed nights.”

Sturbridge MA
Sturbridge Village, The Legend of Sleep Hollow – “Recognized as one of the country’s top five Halloween plays by American Theatre Magazine, The Sleepy Hollow Experience is an immersive, outdoor theatrical experience that reimagines Washington Irving’s iconic 1820’s tale. At The Sleepy Hollow Experience, guests will be ghoulishly guided through the Village’s countryside where they will encounter Ichabod Crane, Katrina Van Tassel, Brom Bones and quite possibly the Headless Horseman.”

Bristol CT
The Haunted Graveyard – At dusk, take a terrifying 1 mile journey through darkly glittering catacombs to an eerie graveyard, to a vampire’s haunt, to a witch’s lair, then onto a misty lake and an ancient temple.

Salem MA
Haunted Happenings – What better place to experience Halloween than the city of the witch trials? There are a variety of events to choose from – this site says: “A festive celebration of Halloween and fall in New England. We invite you to experience a unique one of a kind Halloween experience. From the Grand Parade and Family Film Nights on Salem Common, to ghost tours, haunted houses and so much more.” Get an event calendar, a free guide & more.

Boston MA
Haunted Boston Ghost Tours – The best way to see Historic Boston is by foot. Our 90-minute long walking tour takes you through the historic and haunted streets in search of the countless ghosts rumored to haunt the city.

Ghosts & Gravestones Frightseeing Tour – Guided by a ghoulish band of the undead and a roguish gravedigger, the Trolley of Terror will go back in time as you relive grisly murders, heinous torcherings and cold-blooded executions like the ones that took place on the Boston Commons.

Litchfield NH
Spooky World – Spooky World presents Nightmare New England and the Haunted Hayride. It is New England’s largest haunted attraction.

More New England Halloween Guides

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Have a fireplace? Time to clean that chimney!


What’s better on a chill winter night than a crackling fire in the fireplace? But if you have a fireplace, it’s extremely important that you conduct ongoing maintenance — and it’s a good time to do that now, before the winter chill sets in and the fireplace starts getting a lot of use. Chimney fires account for 75% of home heating fires, according to experts, and almost all chimney fires are preventable with regular upkeep and maintenance to ensure proper venting and to address any buildup of creosote. It’s a frightening experience to have a chimney fire and even if it does not spread to other parts of the house – which it can easily do – it can be an expensive and unnerving event. Property Casualty 360 offers 10 tips to prevent chimney fires.

Many homeowners think that an annual cleaning is sufficient but it really depends on the rate of creosote buildup. Here are two great articles that offer advice on how often to have your chimney cleaned and what to look for in a professional chimney cleaning or repair service:

If you’re experienced at do-it-yourself home maintenance, you might want to tackle the project yourself. This infographic from The Fix shows you how.


Source: Fix.com Blog

Don’t fall for flu myths: get your flu shot early


Woman with flu bunlded in blankets, sipping a hot beverage

We tend to think of the flu as a winter illness, but October is the start of flu season in the United States, continuing on through May and generally peaking in January or February. It’s not too early to think about getting your flu shot now, and if you need a good reason, the Chicago Tribune reports on some news about the toll of last year’s flu season:

“More than 80,000 people died from the flu last season in the United States, according to early estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although it’s far lower than the almost 700,000 people who died in the U.S. during the so-called Spanish flu pandemic that hit worldwide 100 years ago, last season was a “record-breaking” death toll, the highest since at least the late 1970s, according to the CDC.

The flu deaths last season were nearly 10,000 higher than the estimated number who died from drug overdoses and almost double the number of those estimated to have died in motor vehicle crashes. An estimated 900,000 plus were hospitalized, the public health agency said. In Illinois, more than 2,300 were admitted to intensive care units for flu-related illness.”

Apparently, that isn’t evidence enough to convince people to get vaccinated – less than half of the population gets a shot each year. If you are a flu shot skeptic, the Harvard Medical School shoots down 10 common flu myths – check out the article to get the facts.

  • Myth: You can catch the flu from the vaccine.
  • Myth: Healthy people don’t need to be vaccinated.
  • Myth: Getting the flu vaccination is all you need to do to protect yourself from the flu.
  • Myth: The flu is just a bad cold.
  • Myth: You can’t spread the flu if you’re feeling well.
  • Myth: You don’t need to get a flu shot every year.
  • Myth: You can catch the flu from going out in cold weather without a coat, with wet hair or by sitting near a drafty window.
  • Myth: Feed a cold, starve a fever.
  • Myth: Chicken soup will speed your recovery from the flu.
  • Myth: If you have a high fever with the flu that lasts more than a day or two, antibiotics may be necessary.

Learn about who is most vulnerable to the flu from the CDC: People at High Risk of Developing Serious Flu–Related Complications. Get more facts about prevention, symptoms, treatments and more from flu.gov.

Today, there’s no excuse – it’s pretty easy to get a flu shot on the fly, you don’t even need to make a doctor’s appointment. You can get a flu shot at most major pharmacies and drug stores. If you’re unsure where to get a shot, check the vaccine finder. Here are some tips for getting free or cheap flu shots.