From spooky decor to candy galore, the Halloween season is meant to be a fun and festive time for all ages. But according to Traveler’s insurance, along with tricks and treats, this autumn holiday sees 17% more crime-related home insurance claims filed than any other day of the year. With theft and vandalism prevalent, taking precautions is key. After all, forewarned is forearmed.

Before the sun sets and trick-or-treaters and their families begin swarming your property, consider taking the following six precautions that will help keep your property and its potential visitors as safe as possible.

1. Make sure your doors are locked.

This may sound like basic advice, but it’s all the more important to ensure that your property is secure by locking the doors to your house and vehicles on Halloween. It’s a lot less suspicious for a neighbor to see someone walking on your property on Halloween, making it easy for a thief (or just a prankster) to give your doors a try. And, the FBI reports that approximately 30 percent of all burglaries are committed without force thanks to unlocked doors and windows, so don’t give would-be thieves an easy opportunity to rob you.

2. Make sure your walkways are clear and well-lit

The promise of candy can make kids careless when it comes to looking where they’re going. It’s important to remove anything that’s a trip hazard, including sticks and branches on the lawn that can snag costumes and cause kids to fall. Move those gorgeous potted mums, pumpkins, and cornstalks if they’re in the way. Though darkness lends an air of spooktacular eeriness to the night, it can contribute to accidents. Make sure your walkways are well-lit and change any bulbs that are out well in advance.

3. Remove any fire hazards.

Jack-O’-Lanterns are a Halloween staple and yet candles can become a fire hazard, especially if these gourds get knocked over, or flickering flames catch the hem of costume. If you feel this decor is a holiday must-have, look for electric or battery-operated decorations that won’t have your holiday spirit go up in smoke.

4. Keep your pets secure.

The constant ringing of the doorbell can agitate pets. As you open the door to dole out candy, it’s easy for dogs and cats to escape. In the least, this can startle kids, causing them to become upset or stumble backward. But, it could also lead to a child being scratched or bitten even if you do have the sweetest of pets. While your dog may think he’s protecting you, mistaking costumed tweens for would-be intruders can create a Halloween nightmare if someone gets bitten.

5. Remove valuables from view.

On Halloween night, plenty of strangers will be traveling through your neighborhood, with many coming right up to your door, giving them an opportunity to peek directly into your home. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to keep valuables out of view for the evening. Additionally, if you have a home security system, make sure the company’s logo is visible.

6. Tighten your railings.

With crowds clamoring for candy, your front steps can become congested. If anyone starts to feel unsteady, chances are they’ll reach for your railings, and when they do, you want them to be as stable as possible. Adults escorting little ghosts and goblins will be thankful for a sturdy surface amid the mayhem.

This year, make sure your Halloween is scary for all the right reasons. Following these six suggestions can save you from becoming the star in a real life horror story.

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