Fire safety advice for a happy Halloween

19 October 2017
Halloween pumpkin lanterns in the dark

​Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service wants people to enjoy Halloween, but the combination of costumes, lanterns and candles can pose a fire risk.

Reduce this risk with our advice, and take a few minutes to talk about safety and respect before children go out trick or treating to help everyone have a safe, fun time.

Dressing up safety

  • When buying costumes, look for labels which say flame retardant. Clothing will always burn if in contact with naked flames – but some much faster than others.
  • Stay away from candles, such as in pumpkins – homemade costumes and even those bought from shops can be highly flammable.
  • If making lanterns, use battery powered lights instead of candles. If a candle tips over it could set light to the lantern, costumes, or your home and cause a serious fire.
  • Never make lanterns from plastic bottles or containers. These will easily melt or ignite, and if handled carelessly could result in burns and / or a fire.
  • Teach your children to ‘Stop, drop and roll’ if their clothing or costume catches fire. Watch this video together.

Other costume considerations

  • Costumes shouldn’t be too long or restrict your child’s freedom to move – you don’t want any unplanned bumps in the night.
  • Masks can obstruct a child’s vision. This is dangerous, especially when they are crossing roads. Consider using face paints instead.
  • Make sure children are going to be visible when they are out and about. Consider putting reflective tape on their costumes.
  • Some costumes – coupled with the excitement of Halloween – can encourage aggressive behaviour. Remind all trick or treaters that even fake knives, swords and other costume accessories can hurt or scare people.
three toy ghosts in a line

Advice for a safe Halloween

  • If young children are going trick or treating, make sure you or a responsible adult are with them at all times. Know where they are going and when to expect them back.
  • Agree with older children where they are going, a return time and, if possible, which houses they intend to visit.
  • Remind everyone to respect posters displaying ‘No Trick or Treat’. If you see a ‘No Trick or Treat’ poster or sign at a house, don’t knock on the door.
  • Never try to deliberately scare someone, especially older or vulnerable people.
  • Don’t allow anyone to go trick or treating alone – always stay with a group.
  • Eggs and flour are for baking. Don’t allow children to take these items out, and don’t throw them.
  • As it’s likely to be dark, carry torches and only walk down well-lit streets.
  • Remind children to never enter anyone’s house and never accept lifts in people’s cars.
  • Be careful crossing roads in the dark.
  • Ask children not to eat any sweets or other treats they are given until they get home. Check their treats before they eat any. Sweets and foods still in their original wrappers are safest.

Downloadable posters

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