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Your Ocoee Tenants and Jack o’ Lantern Safety

Jack O’ Lantern on Porch Steps of a Ocoee Rental PropertyNothing symbolizes Halloween like a glowing jack o’ lantern. But even though they’re super popular during this time of year, jack o’ lanterns can pose serious safety risks to tenants and rental houses alike. As an Ocoee rental property owner, you have to educate your tenants about how they can avoid fires and injuries. By sharing a few safety tips, your tenants can rest easy and enjoy their holiday celebrations 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 creepy factor. Then they are usually placed on porches, patios, and railings. 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. In particular, carved pumpkins can deteriorate in just a few days, creating a slimy mess of rotting pumpkin that can make stairs and sidewalks slippery. Pumpkins easily draw in hornets and other pests, insects that will sting or bite if disturbed as well.

Adding candles to a jack o’ lantern is another safety issue, particularly if the pumpkins are placed too close to doorways where the costumes or clothing of visitors could catch fire. Every October, Halloween decorations cause an estimated $13 million in property damage, dozens of injuries, and even deaths. There is a lot you and your tenants can do to prevent such a catastrophe. This is welcome news indeed.

When you cap the total amount of time that carved pumpkins are left sitting outside, you can easily prevent pumpkin-related messes and spills. The pumpkin is more likely to rot or attract unwanted pests the longer it is exposed to the elements. Ask your tenants if they could wait until just before Halloween to carve and display the pumpkins. They could set them outside right before the festivities begin and properly dispose of them after everything is done. This can help make sure that doorways and walkways are free of those pesky stinging insects. This also lessens the chance of having slippery spills.

There is another option. Instead of your tenants carving on a real pumpkin, they can carve hardshell gourds or craft pumpkins instead. That’s because gourds don’t break down and rot as pumpkins do, making them the better choice if you want to display them for a longer period of time. Craft pumpkins look like the real thing but are often made of foam or other materials that last much longer. And since they don’t decompose or rot, they can be carved or decorated and displayed safely year after year.

All of these measures can help prevent many risks and accidents. However, the biggest safety issue with jack o’ lanterns is when they are lit. Candles have been, traditionally, the illumination source of choice for carved pumpkins. Nevertheless, their open flames can create a serious fire hazard. If your tenants are set on using candles in their decorations, make sure that they realize it is imperative to take precautions.

Tenants should clear away dry leaves and other debris from the area where lit pumpkins will be placed. They should be informed to never leave lit candles unattended, and have them placed at a safe distance from doorways and walkways. Of course, if you want to stay at the side of caution, encourage your tenants to use 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 you exercise caution when doing it. 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. If, as they say, time is gold, then really, tenant education may not be a great utilization of your precious time. Instead, think about authorizing Real Property Management Verita to do it for you. Our comprehensive property management services include important safety advice to your tenants, letting you keep them and your property free from injury and fire hazards. To find out more regarding what we have for Ocoee property owners like you, contact us today.

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