Save Halloween Horror for the Movies

Decorating safety tips from CSA Group to help make Halloween a Carefree Celebration

Double, double, toil and trouble! Spooky home décor is being dusted off and eye-catching costumes are being created as trick-or-treaters prepare for Halloween. But as the ghostly eve approaches, it’s important to keep festivities fun and not frightful.

CSA Group, a leading product testing and certification organization, would like to remind everyone of the following decorating safety tips to avoid the wrong kinds of shocks and help ensure a happy Halloween.

  • Look for the mark: When purchasing light strings, animatronics, strobe and black lights, fog machines or extension cords, look for a certification mark from an accredited certification organization, such as CSA Group. A recognized certification mark helps provides assurance that products have been tested and certified to the applicable standards for safety and performance.
  • Don’t be shocked: Immediately unplug any electrical cord that becomes hot when it is plugged in as it may be overloaded, leading to potential electrical hazards such as fire or shocks.
  • Go big – and heavy-duty: Use heavy duty extension cords for high wattage decorations, such as fog machines and large electronically-animated displays to reduce the risk of overheating and potential fires.
  • Only use it outdoors if it says ‘outdoors’: Ensure lights and electrical decorations are marked for ‘outdoor use.’ Outdoor lights are tested for weather conditions such as rain and snow to help provide protection against shock hazards.
  • Cut the power: Before working with outdoor wiring, turn off the electricity to the supply outlet and unplug the connection.
  • Get rid of damage: Carefully inspect each electrical decoration. Cracked or frayed sockets, loose or bare wires, and loose connections may provide shock or fire hazard. If found, safely dispose of damaged light sets and replace damaged power cords.
  • Take care with connectors: When hanging lights outdoors, keep electrical connectors above ground, out of water and away from metal eavestroughs. Connect outdoor lighting into receptacles protected by weatherproof ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI), which can provide protection from electric shock by sensing ground leakage and cutting electrical power.
  • Choose fasteners not nails: Use insulated fasteners rather than metal nails or tacks to hold light strings in place to avoid damaging the wires and insulation.
  • Go with flashlights, not candles: When decorating, avoid using candles. Instead, use flashlights or battery-operated candles to light pumpkins, displays and walkways. Never use open flames near combustible materials.
  • Don’t get tripped up: To avoid tripping hazards and damage, keep cords out of walkways and paths and don’t run them through doors.
  • Halloween is but once a year: Decorative lights are temporary. Make sure to take down decorations within two weeks after the holidays to avoid damage caused by extended exposure to harsh weather.

About CSA Group

CSA Group is an independent, not-for-profit member-based association dedicated to advancing safety, sustainability and social good. We are an internationally-accredited standards development and testing & certification organization. We also provide consumer product evaluation and education & training services. Our broad range of knowledge and expertise includes: industrial equipment, plumbing & construction, electro-medical & healthcare, appliances & gas, alternative energy, lighting and sustainability. The CSA mark appears on billions of products around the world.


Allison Hawkins
Manager, Corporate Affairs
CSA Group
[email protected]


October 29, 2014