Halloween is traditionally a time of fun for children and adults alike, but it can also present serious risks for those constructing haunted houses or "fun houses" which may run afoul of the Massachusetts State Building Code.

The Department of Public Safety wants to make sure that you and your family enjoy the holiday while keeping in mind the following safety tips:

  • Do not use flammable paints or paper as decorations.
  • Avoid flammable materials indoors such as hay bales, "silly string" etc.
  • Ensure that hanging materials (i.e. artificial spider webs, curtains, etc.) are a safe distance from heating and lighting elements.
  • Do not use candles or other open flames.
  • Do not use bare plug-in light bulbs--use flashlights or battery operated lighting instead.
  • Ensure adequate ventilation.
  • There are also specific requirements for constructing haunted houses/fun houses and other confined mazes in the State Building Code (780 CMR). These structures are classified as SPECIAL AMUSEMENT BUILDINGS and requirements include the following:
    • Fire detection requirements;
    • Sprinkler requirements;
    • The shutting down of any confusing sounds and visual distractions upon activation of the automatic fire detection system or automatic sprinkler system;
    • Egress requirements, including illumination, exit marking requirements, and public address system requirements;
    • Requirements for a constantly attended location for receiving of such alarm signals and for any emergency actions necessary to be initiated at the attended location;
    • Control of the types of interior finish allowed in such buildings or spaces to reduce fire hazards.

Additionally, it is important to remember that all of these Special Amusement Buildings must be inspected by the proper authority prior to operation.

Therefore, if you are planning to construct and/or operate a Special Amusement Building please contact both the local Municipal Building Department and the local Fire Department for proper Building Code permitting to ensure compliance with all applicable Codes including the Building Code and the Fire Prevention Code. If you have any questions regarding a Special Amusement Building in your community, please contact your Municipal Building Official.