By Paul van Gorkom
Halloween is the second largest commercial holiday in the United States. There are fun and frightening activities to partake in this fall season, but keep in mind the following safety tips so festivities remain a treat for all.
Have a Safe Scare at a Haunted House
Haunted houses may be required to abide by fire and safety codes and may be subject to inspections before the general public is allowed to attend. Some may also be required to have a sprinkler system, early warning smoke or heat detectors, emergency lights, easy access doors, and other safety features. But regulations may not be the same in all areas and you are responsible for your own safety. To stay safe while visiting a haunted house:
• Take a flashlight with you. Even though the safety lighting might be fine for others, it may not be great for you.
• If you are going with small children, attach a glow stick to their clothing so they can be easily found in the dark.
• If there are stairs in the haunted house, be sure to use handrails and walk, do not run, up or down the stairs.
• If visiting a haunted house in a group, have a meeting place in case you get split up.
• Know where the exits are before entering the haunted house. Some attractions will provide you a map of the house so you are aware of where you are going when inside.
• Keep an adult in the front and rear of your group going through the haunted house to help monitor young children so they do not stray.
Don’t Get Lost in the Corn Maze
Corn mazes are large fields of corn stalks, anywhere from a small field to more than 20 acres in size. They can be great fun if they are completed safely.
• Equip your group with flashlights and cell phones and try to stick together.
• Some mazes provide young children and groups with colored flags to wave in the air if they get lost. There are also mazes that have call boxes that will turn on a light to alert an attendant that you are lost or need assistance.
• Teach young children to not go outside of the maze’s path. There may be a busy road or another unknown property beyond the corn stalks.
• Wear appropriate clothing and shoes as you will be outside. If the path is not wide, corn stalks may scratch your arms. Remember that rain can create muddy, slippery surfaces. Fallen corn stalks may also be a tripping hazard, so watch your step.
• Avoid smoking while in the maze as dry corn stalk could easily catch fire.
Hold on During the Hayride
Hayrides, whether haunted or not, can be a very enjoyable experience for any age. Sitting atop a truck, wagon or sleigh decorated with hay or straw is a great family tradition. Be sure to follow all signage at the hayride along with these tips:
• Be cautious when loading and unloading from the hayride. Make sure the hayride is at a complete stop before getting onboard or off. If there are steps, they could be slippery because of the hay or straw.
• Be careful when finding a place to sit. Your foot could easily slip between bales if you walk on them.
• Make sure everyone in your group is sitting at all times during the hayride and all arms and legs are kept inside the wagon.
• Hold on to small children and railings as bumps in the path could easily bounce you and them off of your seat.
• If the hayride is horse-drawn, be careful around the horse and do not approach it if the hayride operator states not to. If it is a tractor pulling the wagon, do not touch it as there are many handles and buttons that could accidently be pushed. The tractor could also be hot from running for a long period.
• Do not walk in the hayride path. Stay in a safe, well-lit area when you are not riding.
Always remember to wear proper attire and footwear and plan for weather restrictions. Enjoy fall festivities by planning in advance and being safety-conscious.
About the author: Paul van Gorkom is the Vice President of Operations at AlliedBarton Security Services.