Staying safe on Halloween

Homely haunts

Elaborate house decorations for Halloween have increased in popularity as St. Louis County residents spend more time and money celebrating the spooky season

By Charlotte Beard

October is known as Red October around St. Louis, but it also marks the time of year in which some community partners use the Halloween season to host costume parties for charitable causes. 

Some St. Louis attractions, such as the St. Zoo and Butterfly House undergo temporary transformations for this hallowed time of year. Elaborate home decorations for Halloween have also grown in popularity. Some of the greatest transformations can also be found in neighborhoods such as in Florissant where the Manhal house sits at 2 Roan Circle. The house is festively decorated every year. 

 “We started with a couple strings of lights on the bushes,” stated David Manhal who independently decorates the home. “Every year we just kept adding on.”

Manhal, along with his wife Kathy and daughter Laureen, have lived at the address since 1982. He shared that it takes him an average of 12 hours to complete the transformation over the course of two days. He has been decorating the house since they moved to Roan Circle.

When asked why he invests the time Manhal shared, “We’re known as the decorators up here in the neighborhood. Many times, our Christmas display is placed in the top three in Florissant. And we’re known for the house being decorated for Halloween. For St. Patrick’s (Day)—we put up a little bit.”

Manhal shares that because he likes to do something new each year for Halloween, he may spend an average of $45 to $50 annually on decorations.

 “Each year you add on a little bit more,” stated Manhal. “It’s really not that expensive.”

Manhal also states that parents like the decorations because it does not carry a “super scary theme.” 

Staying safe this Halloween

Scary or not, the city of Florissant offers the following safety tips for Halloween: 

  • Children should:

− Cross streets only at corners.

− Never cross between parked cars.

− Carry a flashlight or glow stick.

− Walk facing oncoming traffic if there is no sidewalk.

− Be aware of motor vehicles that may be turning into or backing out of driveways.

− Never go into a stranger’s house.

  • Parents should:

− Know the route their children will be taking.

− Make sure children are accompanied by an adult.

− Set limits on when children should return home.

− Consider purchasing Halloween treats other than candy. Stickers, erasers, crayons, pencils and sealed packages of raisins and dried fruits are good choices.

− Make sure trick-or-treaters will be safe when visiting your home. Remove lawn decorations and sprinklers, toys and bicycles or anything that might obstruct your walkway. Provide a well-lit outside entrance to your home. Keep family pets away from trick-or-treaters.

− Explain to children the difference between tricks and vandalism.

− Instruct children NOT to eat treats until they return home and parents have had a chance to inspect those treats.

  • Costume Safety Tips

− Costumes, masks, beards and wigs should be flame resistant.

− Costumes should be light, bright and clearly visible to motorists.

− Make-up is safer than a mask, which can obscure vision.

− Avoid oversize and high-heeled shoes that can cause a child to trip.

− The child’s name, address and phone number should be placed on trick-or-treat bags in case of an accident or lost child.

− Children should carry a flashlight to easily see and be seen.

− Trick-or-treat bags should not be too large; they can obscure vision or cause a child to trip.

− Costumes should have reflective strips.

  • Halloween Hazards

− Dangerous roadways

− Dangerous dress, i.e., loose costumes, unsafe shoes, bulky trick-or-treat bags, masks which reduce vision, sharp or pointed toy weapons, dark costumes.

− Open flames.

− Do not allow children to carve pumpkins

Have a safe Halloween.

CUTLINE: Submitted photos Manhal house is decorated for Halloween at 2 Roan Circle in Florissant.