Prevent House Fires this Halloween

I know for some of you, the thought of not using live fire decorations on the spookiest day of the year may sound like blasphemy, but the truth is Halloween is an outdoor and active holiday that is celebrated at night. Add lit candles to the mix, and it could spell terrible accidents which could result in loss of property or death.

According to the National Fire Protection Associationís Fire Analysis and Research Division during 2003-2007 U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 15,260 home structure fires started by candles per year. The NFPA said these fires caused an annual average of 166 civilian deaths, 1,289 civilian fire injuries, and $450 million in direct property damage. Wow. Gory details for a gory day.

The good news is you donít have to use fire, as there are a few decent candle-alternatives for the jack-o-lanterns youíve been eagerly waiting to put on the front porch: Electric bulbs are the first answer, but this would mean extra wires from lantern to lantern for people to trip on. Also, if youíre using compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs), which contain traces of mercury, any accidents would be unsafe. With strangers knocking on your door wanting blood and guts in the midst of your self-made haunted house, you donít want them stumbling upon an environmental disaster!

Another choice is light sticks, which are fun to use and bring an otherworldly feel to any event. However, if one breaks, be careful not to ingest it or expose the contents to ears, eyes or skin. The chemicals inside are not life threatening but do pose dangers to the body and, when disposed of, to the environment.

The best option may be lights working off batteries, preferably rechargeable ones, which wonít go in the trash the next morning. Some products you could try include:

In the event that weather conditions deteriorate, battery operated lights will also be safer than electric-powered currents that could be dangerous if touched by moisture.

By keeping candles out of the picture, we avoid having to deal with a host of other risks to our loved ones. In fact, getting the entire community — or even the whole block — to abandon fire use on Halloween is a great idea.

Nevertheless, if you are planning to use fire, consider two things regarding placement: Do people, especially children, have easy access to the fire, and have you taken precautions to remove all flammable substances? Finally, if an adult isnít present, the fire should be put out completely.

This year take note that while fiery decorations may spark the devil in you, itís not about the display. On Halloween itís the spirit that counts.

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Terry V.
Terry V.3 years ago


Fi T.
Fi T.3 years ago

Don't play with the fire

Jennifer C.
Past Member 4 years ago


Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W.5 years ago

I don't celebrate Halloween, but it's good that you've published the tips for those who do.

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W.5 years ago

thank you

K s Goh
KS Goh5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

moggy w.
moggy w.5 years ago

Thanks for aricle. If it makes one person think twice about candles, prevents one fire, it will have bee worth it.

Amanda M.
Amanda M.5 years ago

My family has always used those tealights ever since I was little with no problems (especially since we tend to wait until Halloween itself to carve the pumpkins-one of our traditions), but this year my husband insisted on sending me out for those battery-operated LED tealights instead. At least that way I won't have to do that mad scramble every Samhain for tealights that have long enough wicks to stay lit throughout trick-or-treat....

I'm still gonna use real candles on my Samhain altar though...when those are lit, it's for religious worship, and that tends to have my undivided attention then! Not to mention they get put out once ceremonies are over.

Blessed Samhain, all!

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman5 years ago

Good tips. Thanx for article.

Kay L.
KayL NOFORWARDS5 years ago

Ever since I discovered battery-operated fake tea lights for holiday decorations, I've thought they were the best invention since chewing gum!