Home Security Tips for Halloween

David Bitton
Written by David Bitton
Updated October 27, 2016
jack-o-lantern Halloween house
Not to scare you, but crime tends to increase on Halloween. Evaluate security and safety as you put the final touches on your Halloween display. (Photo by Frank Espich/Angi)

Keep your property and trick-or-treaters safe on Halloween by following these security tips.

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For many children (and adults), Halloween can be the most fun holiday of the year. For homeowners though, it can be quite the hassle. Not only is your home much more exposed than it would be on any normal evening, but there are masked strangers walking around your neighborhood.

That may seem like a dramatic way to characterize Halloween, but it’s a reality. A criminology professor writing for Boston.com found that violent crimes on October 31 spike by about 50 percent compared to any other day of the year in Boston — and the most dangerous times are during trick-or-treat hours.

It’s one of the fews times a burglar can effectively case a neighborhood with a very low risk of being caught or questioned. For these reasons, it’s important to keep home security on your mind while enjoying the festivities with your family.

headless horseman Halloween decoration on porch
Get creative with your Halloween decorations, but keep safety top of mind. (Photo by Frank Espich/Angie's List)

While Halloween night is known for pranks and mischief, you certainly don't want to be burglarized or vandalized. According to Travelers Insurance, crime-related insurance claims go up by 24 percent on Halloween. Below are some effective tips for homeowners looking to having a safe Halloween this year:

Illuminate your property

It’s very common for “pranks” to occur on Halloween and oftentimes they take an ugly turn from “fun” to dangerous. While keeping your property dimly lit may set a spooky tone for the evening, it also leaves you much more vulnerable to crime or vandals. A criminal could easily creep around your property if it is dimly lit, so be sure your exterior lights are on and working.

We don’t want to take the fun out of Halloween, but if you have a home security surveillance system at your home, make sure it's on and running during Halloween ... just in case. This way, if someone is able to sneak around your property without you noticing, the cameras will catch it.

Tidy up your front yard

Make sure your yard is free of any hazards, because sometimes kids like to ignore the fact you have a sidewalk and sprint through your lawn to get to the candy.

If you have a sprinkler system in place, make sure you disable it on Halloween. If you have railings leading up to your porch, make sure they are in good condition as many parents will use it as they walk up to your porch.

Also, it never hurts to use Halloween as an excuse to clean up the garage. Store your cars in the garage if possible to avoid exposure to vandalism.

Avoid using candles or flammable decorations

Many people like to place candles in decorative Halloween bags along the sidewalk that leads to their front door. While this can create a cool scene around your house, it also leaves you open to fire hazards. Some kids’ costumes tend to drag along the ground and you run a serious risk by placing candles on the ground.

The same goes for jack-o'-lanterns. If you just can’t shake the idea of having a Halloween without candles, try using small battery-powered ones. They’re affordable and much safer.

Keep your pets inside

In order to avoid issues with kids who have allergies, keep your pets inside the house during Halloween. If you have a dog that usually stays outside, consider keeping it in the house for the evening as dogs tend to get territorial and frightened by costumes.

Also, the last thing you would want to see is an unexpected attack from your pet. According to Insurance Journal, more than one-third of all homeowners' insurance liability claims are attributable to dog bites, costing insurers about $571.3 million in 2015 with the average dog-bite claim exceeding $37,000. 

white poodle dog face
Let your pets scare visitors from a window inside your home. Don't risk the liability of a frightened dog on Halloween. (Photo by Frank Espich/Angie's List)

Candy giving advice

Avoid buying candy that could pose as a choking hazard for young children, and take allergies into account once again. While most children who have peanut allergies will be on the lookout already on Halloween, it would be a very nice gesture to make sure you have something for everyone.

Also, avoid the “leave a bowl of candy on the front porch” strategy as it can be a very obvious sign to strangers that no one is home. The “take one please” sign with a bowl of candy on the porch can serve as a welcome sign to burglars.

Still use discretion when opening your door on Halloween. If you have the time, it’s safer to sit on your front porch so you can pass out candy and avoid opening your house up to danger.

Follow these tips to keep your Halloween both fun and safe. While it may seem like overkill to take this many precautions, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

What steps do you take to keep your home safe during the Halloween holiday? Tell us in the comments section below!

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As of October 27, 2016, this service provider was highly rated on Angi. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angi for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angi. 

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