COLUMBUS, Ohio — As Halloween nears, electrical corporations urge the public to keep safety in mind; there are many precautions one can take in order to celebrate responsibly and avoid electrical risks this Halloween season.

“Halloween is a peak time of year for spooky celebrations and activities, but it also has the potential to present some truly scary electrical hazards if simple precautions aren’t taken,” said Candace Webb, manager of public safety at FirstEnergy. “As children and adults celebrate the holiday, we want them to know where potential electrical or fire risks exist so they can take the steps needed to minimize them.”

There are numerous things to remember when decorating a house with Halloween lights or decorations. Avoid potential hazards by only using lights that have been safety tested and approved by Underwriters Laboratory. This can be determined by looking for a UL label on the box and on each string.

According to FirstEnergy, decorations should never be put on or near utility equipment, such as poles or transformers.

Each electrical cord of lights or decorations should be inspected before use. Damage, such as cracked, frayed or bare wires, should not be used.

All outdoor decorations should be plugged into circuits protected by Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters to prevent electric shock. Damaged sockets or loose connections may also lead to shock. 

Staples and nails can damage electrical cords; instead, light clips are a safer option for hanging lights. Indoor lights should not touch window treatments, carpet or furniture.

To avoid a fire hazard, flammable decorations, like cornstalks and bales of hay, should be kept far away from any open flames or heat sources, such as heaters or light bulbs.

It is also important to keep electrical cords out of high-traffic areas where they will not be a tripping hazard, and to unplug lights before going to bed or leaving the house.