Halloween is the fourth most popular holiday with consumers and yet is a nightmare for maintenance professionals and facility managers in industries ranging from shopping centers to hospitality. The reason is simple; candy masks and parties results in difficult cleanup, pain in the *^% repairs and disguises for thieves.

Halloween Maintenance, Candy and Costumes

The Top 10 Trends in Halloween Spending 2014 below highlights how Halloween has grown and how much people are spending. It has also given me some concerns that are listed below in the last minute tips.

Don’t get me wrong as you read through the list. I love dressing up for Halloween and my house is always a beacon of dark energy for those who dare to walk up my driveway seeking unhealthy sugary sweets.

As we get ready for today/tonight there are a few things that that should be on your Halloween checklist for any public Halloween gathering and for retail, banking, hospitality and amusement park establishments. They include:

Last Minute Halloween Tips

  1. Have a supply of ice, water, solvents, Goo Gone, stain removers and cloths to treat gum and sugary candy deposits. As any parent will tell you quick Halloween maintenance response is crucial to avoid permanent damage.
  2. Blood coloring for pools, water fountains etc. should not be used unless you have the proper tools to disinfect the complete water system afterwards. In fact nothing should ever be added to water sources that can jump start corrosion or bacteria growth.
  3. Costumes can provide anonymity for thieves. Have signs that clearly say “No Masks Beyond This Point”. Enforce this policy at the door. Critical for banks, convenient stores and other retail establishments.
  4. Ensure your security and emergency systems have been inspected and are in working order.
  5. Costumes seem to give people the feeling they can be jerks without retribution. This is a tricky situation. Ensure staff knows proper customer service techniques and document all problems to minimize claims from any situation that gets out of hand.
  6. Direct your staff to avoid wearing “Death” costumes or costumes with weapons. I remember one of my college jobs as a campus security escort for women at night. On Halloween, I dressed up as Death but the women were not comfortable walking across campus with a masked man holding a sickle. The bad news is I was told not to work that night and lost about $25 in wages, the good news is I won best costume at a local bar and won $50 plus free beer all night. But the lesson was learned, some outfits are not appropriate for some jobs.
  7. TASERs are not toys and they are not funny when used. If someone is using a police costume, make sure weapons are not included – enough said!

As a side note, we live in a world with constant terror threats. Halloween is the ideal event for people with nefarious agendas. As a result, all industries need to wary of costumed persons on their property. I prefer not to wake up on Saturday and read how a group of terrorist dressed as nuns blew something up.

With that said have a fun but safe Halloween and be sure to send me your extra chocolate (I feel an impulse to eat sugar coming on).