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Your Wilmington Tenants and Jack o’ Lantern Safety

Jack O’ Lantern on Porch Steps of a Wilmington Rental PropertyNothing represents Halloween like a glowing jack o’ lantern. But even though this jack o’ lanterns seem to be everywhere during this time of year, they can actually pose serious safety risks to tenants and rental houses alike. As a Wilmington rental property owner, it’s crucial that you tell your tenants how to avoid fires and injuries. By sharing a few safety tips, your tenants can relax and have fun, knowing that their holiday celebrations will be without accident or injury.

Jack o’ lanterns are common holiday decorations made from pumpkins. The top is cut off and the inside is hollowed out. Then a scary face (or some other image) is carved out of the rind, exposing the interior. Traditionally, they are lit with small candles to give it that eerie flickering look. Then they are placed on porches, patios, and railings for the whole neighborhood to see. Now, you can’t just place them anywhere you think it would look good. If you place carved pumpkins next to doorways, walkways, and other easily accessed areas, it may result in several safety hazards. An example of this is that carved pumpkins can deteriorate in just a few days, creating a slimy mess of rotting pumpkin that can make stairs and sidewalks slippery. Pumpkins have a tendency to attract hornets and other pests, insects that will sting or bite if disturbed.

Adding candles to a jack o’ lantern is another safety issue. This is especially true if the pumpkins are placed too close to doorways where the costumes or clothing of visitors could catch fire. You can expect that every year, Halloween decorations will cause an estimated $13 million in property damage, dozens of injuries, and even deaths. But not to worry. The good news is that there is a lot you and your tenants can do to prevent such a catastrophe.

One way to prevent pumpkin-related messes and spills is to restrict the length of time that carved pumpkins are left sitting outside. Should the pumpkin be open to the weather and other elements, there would be a higher probability of it rotting or it attracting unwanted pests. Try to get your tenants to wait until just before Halloween to set them outside. That means they can carve and display the pumpkins on the same day and then properly dispose of them immediately after. This helps keep the doorways and walkways free of stinging insects and slippery spills.

There are other options that you can suggest to your clients. They can skip the real pumpkin and go carve hardshell gourds or craft pumpkins instead. This is because gourds don’t break down and rot as pumpkins do. This means they can be safely placed on display for a longer period. Craft pumpkins look like the real thing but are often made of foam or other materials that last much longer. And since they never deteriorate, they can be carved or decorated and displayed safely year after year.

Many risks can be avoided by following these measures. Just don’t forget that the biggest safety issue with jack o’ lanterns is when they are lit. Candles have long been the illumination source of choice for carved pumpkins, but their open flames can create a serious fire hazard. On the off chance that your tenants opt to utilize candles in their decorations, make sure they know that they need to follow some safeguards.

Tenants should clear away dry leaves and other debris from the area where lit pumpkins will be placed. They should also comprehend the seriousness of never leaving lit candles unattended, and put them at a safe distance from doorways and walkways. To make sure they stay safe, they can always go for an alternative lighting source, such as glow sticks, which are non-flammable, do not use batteries or electricity, and are weatherproof. Glow sticks can also be used to illuminate craft pumpkins, unlike candles which should never be used in these decorations.

Carving and displaying jack o’ lanterns is an enjoyable part of Halloween, but only if it is done properly and safely. One way you can stay safe during this season is by educating your tenant about the risks of jack o’ lantern use. This may end up taking up some of your time. Since time is a valuable resource, then perhaps you need to rethink if educating your tenant is a good use of this precious resource. Alternatively, take into account enlisting Real Property Management Champion to do it for you. Our comprehensive property management services include important safety advice to your tenants, assisting you to keep them and your property free from injury and fire hazards. For more information about what we can do for Wilmington property owners like you, contact us today.

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