(HALLOWEEN/ANIMAL SAFETY) Halloween decorations can be scary, and sometimes they can be downright dangerous.

With the threat of Halloween spiderwebs, plastic candy wrappers, and dangling tinsel or ribbon, the holidays can be a particularly hazardous time for wildlife.

A screech owl entangled in Halloween decorations. Photo Credit: Dave Stapp, Marin Humane Society

For instance, a Western Screech Owl once became entangled in Halloween decorations outside a home in suburban Novato, CA, where these small woodland owls are quite common.

“He was hanging upside down right outside the front door,” the homeowner said. “When we opened the door he just hung there and blinked at us!”

The Marin Humane Society was soon called in to help snip the bird free. The owl was then brought to the urban wildlife rehabilitation center, WildCare, in San Rafael, CA, where he recovered within a couple of days.

Wild animals will manage to get caught and tangled in practically anything.  This being said, potential hazards exist all around us, particularly during Halloween and Christmas when people tend to decorate the exteriors of their homes.

WildCare cautions Halloween lovers to abide by these animal-friendly tips when decorating your home:

  • Don’t use fake spiderwebs or other decorations made of entangling fibers.
  • Avoid decorations with loops or closed circles.
  • Avoid decorations with small, dangling, edible parts.
  • Properly dispose of all candy wrappers.
  • Don’t leave candy out where wildlife may find it.

The Halloween Screech Owl was eventually released at the now spiderweb-free house where he was caught. Watch him fly free in this video:

— Alisa Manzelli, exclusive to Global Animal