Laser safety is always important. Since lasers are frequently used in holiday displays and in kids’ toys, the spooky season is a good time to review the importance of using lasers safely and learning the difference between lasers used for Halloween and other holiday displays, laser toys and laser pointers.
With Star Wars in the public consciousness since 1977 (yep, the franchise is 44 years old), lasers as battle tools for Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader have been cool for a long time. Since then, lasers have made their way into children’s toys, including:
- toy guns
- spinning tops
- entertainment lasers that create optical effects such as laser light shows and holiday displays
- hand-held light sabers
A Reminder about Laser Safety and the Power of Green
Most Halloween and other holiday displays that use laser lights use what are known as laser projectors. The shows can include different effects such as projections, liquid sky, graphics, logos and animations, and more. The lasers are typically housed in a box or other container and rely on crystals and other materials to create their effects. As with Alpec laser pointers, the laser light capacity used in projectors is below 5 mW, a level considered safe and comfortable for viewing with nothing more than your eyes.
However, even at very low energy output, at 5 mW or less, a green laser pointer is very bright, 30 times brighter than red. The human eye is drawn to it, a neat trick for light shows and displays and those green light sabers.
Tips to Prevent Eye Damage
- Never aim or shine a laser directly at anyone, including animals.
- Do not aim a laser at any vehicle, aircraft, or shiny surface.
- Do not buy laser pointers for children or allow children to use them. These products are not toys. Even an FDA-recommended IEC Class I Laser Product includes some risk.
- Do not buy or use any laser that emits more than 5 mW power, or that does not have the power output printed on the labeling.
- Immediately consult a health care professional if you experience eye sensitivity or “flashing” after using a laser.
At Alpec, we do not produce lasers for Halloween displays or light shows. Our focus is on laser pointers and all Alpec lasers provide 100% IR filtration, the standard to safely avoid eye damage, plus approval from the FDA and the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH). Our lasers are certified as safe to use for presentation and pointing.
Lasers are specialty tools– we do not recommend using lasers as toys. We do recommend understanding lasers and how they work so you can use them safely and choose the right laser for your needs. No matter your plans for Halloween or other autumnal holidays, please be safe out there.