Halloween Project Safety Tips
Safety is important when it comes to Halloween projects. Unfortunately,
the web has plans for lots of projects that are either fundamentally
dangerous or potentially dangerous if not properly handled (especially some
of the projects that require A/C power). Some of these are due to
carelessness. Some are because people just don't know any better. I think
you'll find the projects here safe and enjoyable. Of course, I can't
guarantee safety. Some projects require power tools, paint, glue, and
electricity. You must use your common sense. Children attempting these
projects must have adult supervision.
Here are some guidelines that I hope you'll use when you attempt any
Halloween project. (This is not necessarily a complete list.)
Power tools and hazardous materials are required in many projects. I've
tried to minimize the use of hazardous materials in my projects.
- Follow all of the directions that came with your power tools.
- Wear eye protection.
- Use gloves when handling sharp items (like unframed glass).
- Consider ear protection.
- Lots of things, like paint, shellac, and epoxy create toxic
fumes. Melting foam and solder also produce dangerous fumes.
Make sure you have plenty of ventillation and/or use a
- Many of these same materials also give off flammable vapors.
- Pay attention to what you're doing.
- Make sure bystanders also have appropriate protective gear and are
also paying attention.
- Give yourself plenty of room to work.
- Use a quality extension cord so you aren't restricted by the short
cord on a power tool (and be careful not to cut into it).
- Keep your tools in good repair.
Electricity is dangerous. Regular house current in the U.S. is 110 to 120
volts A/C. That can easily kill you. Electrical wiring problems
are the cause of a large number of fires every year. At holidays, the fire
danger is elevated because of flammable decorations, overloaded circuits,
and inappropriate use of indoor electrical components outside.
- If you don't know much about electrical wiring, get help from somebody
who knows or find another project. Don't let the bozo who wrote up
a project on his web site be your only source of electrical
- Beware of projects that require makeshift rigging of high voltage
- Don't try to save money on electrical components. If you're going to
use your project outside, buy waterproof components and proper
extension cords and do it right.
- Consider a low-voltage solution.
- Never bypass the grounding or polarization on a plug.
- Don't mix water and electricity.
- Consider putting a ground fault interrupter (GFI) in your holiday
displays, especially the outdoor ones.
Safety is still important even after construction. Nothing ruins a
Halloween party faster than a house fire.
- Consider using low-voltage lights rather than candles, especially
in your Jack O'Lanterns. There are good battery-powered substitutes
available. They are often sold with those kid-friendly carving
sets. Never leave a burning candle unattended.
- Check the batteries in your smoke detectors.
- Keep at least one working fire extinguisher handy. Know how to
use it before you need it.
- Consider treating your projects with a flame retardant coating.
- Many projects on other sites use compressed air. Know what you're
doing if get involved with these.
- If you get trick-or-treaters in your neighborhood, make sure their
path to your door is well lit and free of obstacles. Consider that
masks may greatly reduce their field of vision.
Have a fun and safe Halloween.
© 2002-2004 Adrian McCarthy
All rights reserved. Last updated 18-JAN-2004.