According to West Virginia University Safety and Health Extension experts, costumes aren’t always the scariest part of Halloween.
“Being fire-safe doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun holiday,” John Hyman, WVU Extension assistant professor, said.
Follow these tips from the National Fire Protection Association to keep your trick-or-treaters safe.
- Purchase only costumes, wigs and props labeled flame-resistant or flame-retardant. When 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.
- Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs, heaters, etc.
- Use flashlights or battery-operated candles when illuminating jack-o'-lanterns. Use extreme caution when decorating with candle lit jack-o'-lanterns and supervise children at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside jack-o'-lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches and be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn including doorsteps, walkways and yards.
- Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, ensuring nothing blocks escape routes.
- Instruct children to stay away from open flames or other heat sources. 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.) Cool the burn.
- Use flashlights as alternatives to candles or torch lights when decorating walkways and yards. They are much safer for trick-or-treaters, whose costumes may brush against the lighting.
- Make sure fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside, that the venting is kept clear and unobstructed, and that the exit point is properly sealed around the vent, all of which is to make sure deadly carbon monoxide does not build up in the home.
- Instruct children who are attending parties at others’ homes to locate the exits and plan how they would get out in an emergency.