Halloween is a magic time of year – a time when split-levels, colonials and Capes transform into spooky mansions haunted by ghosts, goblins and the faraway howls of the undead.

If you’re decorating for Halloween this year, consider these tips for electrical safety, as well as smart energy use. The same tips can also be applied to the December holidays, or any other event that calls for festive home light shows.

  • Use only extension cords that are in good condition. Don’t run them through high-traffic areas where people will step on them. (This will prevent both damage to the cords, and accidental trips and falls.)
  • Don’t staple, tack or nail an electrical cord into place. This could damage the insulation.
  • Replace the candles inside your pumpkins with miniature LED lights for safety and efficiency. Also, look for LED holiday lighting, which is much more energy-efficient than traditional lighting.
  • Check all electrical decorations for damaged cords, and don’t use any whose cords have become worn or cut. No matter how beloved your favorite decoration might be, it’s not worth creating a safety hazard.
  • Also, make sure any electrical decoration you’re placing outdoors is marked for outdoor use.
  • If you’re hanging holiday decorations on your home or in trees, be aware of the location of power lines, and always stay at least 10 feet away. (This same advice also applies if you are trimming trees, cleaning rain gutters or doing seasonal yard work.)

Let’s make it a scary but safe Halloween.

Sources: Energy Education Council; U.S. Department of Energy; International Association of Electrical Inspectors