It’s fall! The temperatures are cooling, the leaves are changing, and the days are getting shorter. Halloween is coming. The thought of Halloween conjures many images: ghosts, goblins, costumes, scary movies, candy, and themed parties to name a few. But have you thought of the way hazmat plays a role in making some of our favorite Halloween pastimes happen? Let’s do that!
What is Halloween without a scary movie? I mean, there’s a whole series in the genre named after the day! If we look deeper into the filming process, there is no shortage of hazmat used in the motion picture industry. Lithium batteries are everywhere! Tablets, lighting, cameras, cell phones, laptops, and many other places we don’t even think about. What about all those fires? Explosives, fireworks, and flammable gases are used to achieve the dramatic backgrounds for many climactic scenes in scary movies.
Speaking of backgrounds, what about those set designs? Artists work hard creating a fictional world to scare you, and one of their main tools is paint. Lots and lots of paint goes into those spooky backgrounds that are meant to make you feel like the killer is coming for you. Many paints are flammable liquids, and in the case of spray paints, they are flammable gases. Either form is regulated in transportation.
That’s not all! What about that chainsaw that was used for…well, you know? Those chainsaws (and other killer lawn equipment) are powered with gasoline and regulated as such. Newer chainsaws may also be powered by lithium batteries, but I haven’t seen those used to chop off a body part…yet (LOL).
And then there’s the fog! Scary movies aren’t very scary if you can see the killer coming. While the liquid used to create the fog on a movie set is not regulated hazmat, dry ice is. Dry ice may be used at home to create a scary atmosphere for your own movie. It’s important to remember that dry ice is regulated, especially in the air mode.
Speaking of parties, who doesn’t love a great Halloween costume party! You prepare for the party weeks in advance to create the perfect place for you and your friends to dress up and be someone else for one night. But you’re at home. There’s no hazmat there, right? Wrong!
Let’s look at that prep work. Depending on where you live, you may need to mow the lawn or remove snow. Lawn mowers and snow blowers, whether gas powered or electric, are regulated hazmat. Many cleaning supplies used inside the home, while usually shipped under the limited quantity or consumer commodity exceptions, are still regulated hazmat.
How about that costume of yours? Creepy nail polish? Neon green hair courtesy of a aerosol can? Nail polish is considered a flammable liquid in transportation. That hairspray? It comes from an aerosol can and is classified as a flammable gas.
Finally, there is the food. Food isn’t regulated hazmat, is it? Not in its final form, no. However, many food additives including flavorings and dyes are regulated in transportation. I’m looking at you, candy corn. Last but not least, all that wonderful, themed food you cooked all day needs to stay warm. That sterno flame you are using to keep those ghoulish delights warm is classified as a flammable solid.
Be safe and have fun!