Aug 26, 2021|

How to Have a Fun (and Safe) Labor Day Weekend

What is Labor Day and why do we celebrate it?

For many of us, Labor Day is an extra day off work to enjoy the closing of the summer. But do you know where the holiday originated?

Observed the first Monday of September, Labor Day celebrates the achievements from American workers that contribute to our country’s economic successes. It has been a national holiday since President Grover Cleveland signed it into law in 1894.

The origins of Labor Day are actually pretty dark—at the time, basic worker protections were not in place. The average person worked 12 hour days, 7 days a week, and young children often worked in dangerous factories. This led to strikes and protests from workers for better conditions and laws.

As a result, Labor Day was proposed as a way to recognize and celebrate workers.

happy labor day tools and hat
Keep reading for tips on how to have a safe Labor Day weekend.
 

Celebrating Labor Day today

Today, Labor Day is often celebrated as the official end of the summer season. It’s often the end of school summer breaks, the beginning of fall sports, and the closing of outdoor swimming pools.

Many people spend their Labor Day weekend enjoying the outdoors and spending time doing activities with friends and family.

We’ve put together a few ideas for fun Labor Day activities, as well as things you can do to make it a safe holiday for everyone.

Labor Day Activities

There’s no shortage of Labor Day activities you can plan with your family. If you’re still not sure what to do with your holiday weekend, check out these ideas:

Take a trip

One survey found that over 53% of Americans plan on traveling during Labor Day weekend. With an extra day off of work and school, it’s no surprise that so many people plan vacations around the Labor Day weekend.

You don’t need to plan an elaborate vacation, either. You can plan a quick weekend getaway last-minute, whether you want to go camping, check out a nearby National Park or amusement park, or go sightseeing at a nearby city.

Beat the heat

For much of the US, Labor Day falls right around the warmest parts of the year. With a decent chance it will be hot outside, you can cool off with a trip to your local pool, lake, or beach.

Prefer to stay home? Setting up sprinklers in your yard is a fun way for everyone in the family to cool off on a hot day.

Host a Labor Day BBQ

What’s a summer holiday in America without a good BBQ? If your forecast doesn’t include rain, a backyard BBQ is the perfect way to celebrate Labor Day and enjoy the summer weather with friends and family before it starts to cool down.

You can cut down on your own work (and try new foods!) by inviting other people to bring food and drinks. A few BBQ food ideas include:

  • Kebabs (check out these creative ideas for a few tasty options)
  • In-season fruits and vegetables, like corn on the cob and watermelon
  • Summer salads that provide healthy options for your guests, like this tomato salad
  • Desserts that hold up in the heat (brownies and cookies are always favorites!)
family having a bbq
Enjoy a BBQ with family and friends before we head into the fall season.
 

Have a backyard movie night

Celebrate at home with a movie night in the backyard! You can rent or borrow a projector, grab some blankets and snacks, and enjoy a movie under the stars.

Enjoy the great outdoors

Take advantage of outdoor activities before the weather starts to cool down. A few things ways you can enjoy the fresh air on your day off include:

  • Hiking at a local park or trail. Check your city’s department of parks or recreation website for a list of parks and trails near you
  • Going for a bike ride
  • Go fishing in a new or favorite spot
  • Rent 4-wheelers and go for a ride
  • Download a constellation map, find an area without a lot of bright lights (such as out in the country or near water) and go stargazing

Safety

Labor Day means plenty of ways to have fun, but it also presents some risks. Some of these include:

  • Car accidents. More cars on the road and long road trips that lead to distracted or drowsy driving can all increase the chance of car accidents during Labor Day weekend.
  • Burns. Some Labor Day activities, like grilling, shooting off fireworks, or spending long hours in the hot sun, put you at an increased risk of burns.
  • Water-related accidents. Anytime you’re in a body of water, the risk of drowning increases. Water sports like boating, wakeboarding, or riding on innertubes can also present a few safety hazards to be aware of.
  • Alcohol-related incidents. Alcohol impairs judgment and lowers reaction times, making it a common cause for a variety of accidents. For example, 38% of car accident fatalities over the Labor Day weekend involve an alcohol-impaired driver.

Whether you’re home or away, these tips will help keep your activities safe this Labor Day weekend.

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Labor Day safety tips for travel

  • If you’re taking a road trip, make sure you always drive while well-rested, and pull over if you start to feel drowsy.
  • Always make sure you and all passengers wear seatbelts.
  • Consider purchasing roadside assistance from your insurance or other provider so you have someone to call if you break down or get a flat.
  • Never operate a vehicle (or allow anyone else to) while under the influence of alcohol.

Safety tips in the water

  • When swimming at a beach or lake, make sure a lifeguard is present.
  • Avoid swimming in murky or crowded waters, which can make it more difficult for a lifeguard to see if someone needs help.
  • Always wear a life jacket when on a boat or other watercraft.
  • Don’t operate watercraft while under the influence of alcohol.
  • Practice pool safety by keeping track of small children at all times.
  • Wear waterproof sunscreen and reapply it frequently to avoid sunburns.

Food safety tips

  • Help prevent food poisoning by keeping foods prone to spoiling on ice or inside the house.
  • Keep kids away from hot grills and open flames to prevent burns and injuries.
  • Put leftovers away after being out for 2 hours.
  • Make sure all foods are cooked to the appropriate temperatures.
  • If participating in a potluck, be sure foods with the most common food allergies are clearly labeled.

Outdoor safety

  • Stay hydrated while participating in outdoor activities. The CDC recommends drinking 1 cup of water every 15 minutes when working or participating in strenuous outdoor activities
  • Share travel plans with a family member or friend in the event you get lost or need help
  • Know the terrain you’re planning to hike and adjust your plans according to ability level
  • Be safe when it comes to wildlife. Carry bear spray or other protective measures if you’re camping or hiking where wildlife is present.
  • Protect yourself from sunburns by wearing a hat and choosing broad-spectrum sunscreen
couple and dog hiking
Enjoy the heat and the outdoors before the temperature starts to drop.
 

Keeping your home safe while you’re away

You can also take a few basic steps to keep your home safe, whether you’re hosting a get-together or traveling, with these tips:

  • Intruders often target homes they know are empty, so make arrangements for a friend or neighbor to pick up mail or manage your lawn while you’re away.
  • Remove any hide-a-keys from mats or fake rocks. You can also consider adding a smart lock to your home to prevent picked locks.
  • Consider installing a smart home security system that includes professional monitoring. This will give you peace of mind that your home is secure no matter where you go.

With Labor Day right around the corner, these tips will help you plan a fun, safe holiday with your family and friends.

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