Pumpkin

How Jack O’lanterns Can Be a Fire Hazard

October is known as the spooky season. It’s filled with fun decorations, costumes, candy, and excitement. The weather starts to cool down, leaves begin to change color, and fall is in the air.  However, it’s not always fun all around. 

According to a 2005 study from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the holiday is also a time of danger as fire risks spike this time of year. Enjoying the spooky season means acting with safety in mind, so your family can make the most of October.  

One of the top perpetrators of Halloween fires are the very pumpkins many families carve into Jack O’Lanterns. While Halloween is supposed to be scary, this is one scare you need to avoid. These family traditions can turn into a risk for a couple of reasons. All Dry USA prioritizes safety and has all the information on how these Halloween decorations can be a fire risk – and how to avoid a fire from a Jack O’lantern. This hazard does not have to be scratched completely, but it does need to be treated with caution. 

 

Fake Is Fun  

The glow of a candle inside a Jack O’Lantern provides that spooky but cheerful glow people love on Halloween. These decorations often peek out from the front steps of a home, providing a guiding light on Halloween night and the nights leading up to it. But the candle inside a Jack O’Lantern is also the number one fire hazard behind these decorations. An errant wind, leaning candle, careless visitor, or any number of other accidents can lead to a fire in the home.  

Open flames must always be monitored to ensure the safety of trick or treaters, the home, and residents. If you are not staying with the lantern the whole time, try an alternative. 

A popular option is simply a fake candle. A battery-operated LED light brings that same cheerful glow without the risk. Some families even opt for colorful glow sticks to provide color variation for a bright, vibrant Jack O’Lantern. 

 

Other Décor Matters 

Jack O’Lanterns also pose a risk based on the other decorations you have nearby. Halloween décor often utilizes dried corn stalks, straw scarecrows, bales of hay, and other paper decorations. All of these are flammable. If you have an open flame in the pumpkin plus these other decorations in the vicinity, the fire hazard increases significantly. 

Again, just a small accident can lead to a large-scale problem. Be intentional about the design behind placing decorations. A little strategic placement can spread the decor out enough that fire risk is mitigated. The fire would have a hard time leaping to other flammable items if they are out of reach, so make it a difficult feat.

 

External Threats  

Certain steps can be taken to avoid accidental fires, but there are also intentional ones to know. The FEMA study notes the number of suspicious fires tied to arson rises around Halloween. Leaving an unattended candle on your property opens up the opportunity for malicious action.

Just like with the other aspects of Halloween, if you see something truly suspicious, it should always be reported. External threats are a little harder to predict and avoid, but taking away a real candle eliminates the use of your own flame against your home.  

 

Have an Exit Plan  

While you can take steps to avoid fires, it still might happen, and it is important to always be prepared. Decorating the home is fun when you think about all the ghouls and goblins coming to visit, but you still want to keep it safe. This means following safety precautions and creating an escape route if it does happen. Always ensure exits of the home are not being blocked by decorations, so your family can quickly exit in the event of a fire.  

Unfortunately, fires can happen even with the best safety precautions in place. By recognizing the potential hazards posed by Halloween decorations, you can strive to avoid these incidents. In the event the unthinkable happens, All Dry USA is available to support and help with home recovery from fire and smoke damage

Ben Suiskind

Chief Executive Officer at All Dry USA
With Ben’s knowledge, and visionary leadership, All Dry USA has expanded into a national, full-service property damage restoration company with multiple locations across the United States. Ben holds numerous specialty licenses and certifications in restoration and construction.
Ben Suiskind

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