A safe Hallowe’en doesn’t have to be a nightmare

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service demonstrated how easily a high street skeleton costume can ignite

Hallowe’en celebrations have changed considerably over the last few years. The dressing up and having a spooky time is a lot of fun so to make sure you stay safe take a look at some advice from CFOA.

Trick or Treating

Although it is fun to dress up and go out ‘trick or treating’ remember for many people the sight of groups dressed up and knocking on doors during the evening can be intimidating

  • Make sure children are accompanied by adults
  • Make sure your group has plenty of torches so you can see clearly and be seen
  • If a house is not obviously decorated for Hallowe’en it’s probably best not to knock on the door – at the least it can be annoying, at worst people can be frightened
  • Don’t play tricks – damaging property or throwing eggs is a criminal offence

If you have older or vulnerable friends or neighbours ask them how they feel about Hallowe’en.  Would they want some company or to join in your own celebrations rather than staying in? If you don’t want people to knock at your home a polite notice may deter people from knocking.

Dressing Up

Many people enjoy dressing up for Hallowe’en. CFOA is campaigning to raise awareness of the potential dangers of fancy dress costumes. Under current legislation these items are classed as toys but CFOA believes their safety could be improved if they we reclassified as children’s nightwear which undergoes stricter flammability testing.

Although in 2015 this issue was highlighted when TV presenter Claudia Winkleman spoke about  an incident when her daughter suffered burns after her supermarket bought costume caught light, the actual legislation has not changed. Some retailers have made a pledge to ensure their costumes undergo stricter testing which is something CFOA welcomed. But, parents should be aware that this is not the case for all high street retailers.

In order to make costumes as safe as they can be for now CFOA suggests

  • Don’t use candles. LED lights with the appropriate kite mark are safe and look out for naked flames in pumpkins on other people’s property
  • Avoid trailing costumes and make sure they are not too long for children
  • Try and do you research – some retailers have opted to make sure their Hallowe’en costumes undergo the same testing as children’s nightwear
  • Buy from a reputable retailer, this should avoid you ending up with something that should not even be sold in the UK
  • Don’t given children sparklers to hold when they are in fancy dress and adults should be careful with cigarettes and costumes

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue service produced the following film to illustrate just how easily a costume can ignite when exposed to a flame

Make sure your children know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothes catch fire. Take a look at Cheshire Fire and Rescue’s advice http://www.cheshirefire.gov.uk/news-events/webcasts/safety-campaigns/video-stop-drop-and-roll

Fire and rescue services have advice on their own websites for Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night. Take some time to have a look at your own service’s website and have a safe celebration.


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