Keep your Halloween party safe and fun

Hosting a Halloween party can be fun, but it’s also a big responsibility. Halloween parties favor outlandish pageantry, amazing costumes, eye-catching decor, and enough scares and tricks to amuse thrill-seekers.

While fun is often the primary focus of Halloween, party hosts also need to prioritize safety when hosting spooky soirées. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, an organization dedicated to protecting kids from unintentional injuries, twice as many kids are killed while walking on Halloween compared to other days of the year.

But Halloween isn’t just for kids anymore. Alcohol has become a big part of many adults’ Halloween celebrations, and that means hosts must take steps to safeguard their guests from overdoing it with alcohol. Traffic accident reports compiled from 2008 to 2012 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that more than 50 per cent of all fatal car accidents on Halloween involve a drunk driver.

As party planners start to plan their Halloween festivities, it’s important to remember that safety must be a priority.

• Prepare the space. A raucous party may lead to accidents around the house. Move out any extra furniture so guests have more space to move around. Remove breakable items from rooms where guests will spend most of their time.

• Skip the candles. Battery-operated tealights create the effect of real candles without the danger. Illuminate jack-o’- lanterns and other Halloween items with flickering LEDs, which won’t start a fire if they’re knocked over.

• Hire a bartender. If the party is an adult affair, invest in a professional bartender or server who can monitor guests’ alcohol consumption. He or she can cut off those who have had too much and prevent guests from becoming intoxicated.

• Provide adequate lighting. Darkness might remind many of Halloween, but an entertaining space should not be so dark that guests cannot move around safely. Be sure to illuminate all walkways and clearly indicate exits so that guests can get to safety if necessary. Remove any obstacles on the floor that are tripping hazards, and be sure to use nonslip runners and rugs.

• Practice food safety. Many Halloween treats and desserts contain nuts, and this can pose a hazard to those with nut allergies. Label foods and attempt to make the party nut-free if there is someone attending with a nut allergy. Many foods can be left out at room temperature for anywhere from one to two hours. Promptly refrigerate any leftovers so that they do not spoil and cause foodborne illnesses.

• Arrange for transportation home. Guests who imbibe should have a safe and sober means of getting home. This may mean arranging for cabs or ride-share services for guests.

• Keep an eye on kids. Children can get into mischief any day of the year, but especially so under the cloak of Halloween darkness. Routinely conduct a head count to be sure everyone is safe and sound.

Halloween parties can be safe and enjoyable at the same time. Enlist the help of others to ensure that all guests are protected while they engage in costume-clad fun.

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