Halloween fire safety advice: Read our top 10 tips

Published: 26 Oct 2017

It’s that time of year when ghouls and goblins roam the streets as adults and children don gruesome costumes in the spirit of spooky fun.

The most frightening aspect of Halloween, however, tends to be the number of people who are injured in accidents after candles or fireworks have ignited flammable costumes and hair.

Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Director of Community Protection and Chief Fire Officer, Darryl Keen, said: "While we don’t want to stop people enjoying Halloween, we do want them to celebrate safely by following some simple advice both in the run-up to the day, and on the day itself.

“Although Halloween is traditionally a time for spooky behaviour and frightening fun, there is absolutely nothing more terrifying than having a fire at home or seeing your clothes catch alight.

"It is important to remember that homes should be fitted with smoke alarms all year round, which should be checked regularly, to provide life-saving early warning if a fire does occur."

There are steps parents can take to make sure your little witches and goblins stay safe:

1.When parents are choosing their Halloween costumes this year they should look for the CE mark, which ensures safety in toys. They should also look for costumes that state they are tested to the Nightwear (Safety) Regulations, as many manufacturers are now choosing to apply this higher standard of protection to their costumes.

2. Make sure that children stay away from tea lights, lanterns, and candles when wearing their costumes, or replace candles with LED equivalents where possible. Be sure children know how to stop, drop and roll in the event their clothing catches fire. (Stop immediately, drop to the ground, covering your face with your hands, and roll over and over to extinguish flames.)

3. If you are creating a costume, choose material that won't easily ignite if it comes in contact with heat or flame. Avoid billowing or long trailing features. Plastic capes and bin liners, sometimes used as costumes, are also fire risks.

4. Think about fire safety when decorating your home. Don't overload electrical sockets with extra lighting or special effects equipment. Decorative lights should always be switched off at the mains last thing at night or if the bulbs need to be changed.

5. Always keep lanterns and candles away from curtains, decorations and flammable materials, or near areas where people will be standing or walking. Homemade lanterns made from hollowed pumpkins and candles can also be hazardous.

6. Place lanterns on a stable surface. If the candle tips over, it could set light to materials such as costumes, curtains, clothes, and furniture, and start a serious fire.

7. Lanterns should never be made from plastic bottles or other containers, which are very dangerous and if handled carelessly could result in burns and also cause a fire.

8. Dried flowers and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.

9. Use flashlights or battery-operated candles when illuminating pumpkins. Use extreme caution when decorating with candle lit pumpkins, and supervise children at all times when candles are lit.

10. When lighting candles inside pumpkins, use long, fireplace-style matches.