Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Stay safe this Halloween

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is urging people to take extra care this Halloween.

Every year adults and children are injured in accidents where candles or fireworks set light to hair or fancy dress costumes and homes are involved in fires caused by candles which have been carelessly placed near plastic decorations.

In the last few years the dangers posed by children’s fancy dress costumes, which can easily and quickly catch fire, were highlighted in the national press.

Currently, children’s fancy dress costumes are classified as toys, rather than clothes, and are not covered by the same safety regulations. There is no requirement for them to be fire proofed or fire retardant.

Head of Community Safety Neil Fenwick said: “Every year on Halloween many adults and children are injured in accidents where lighted candles or fireworks have come into contact with costumes.

“These costumes can be extremely flammable, especially if they involve plastic bin liners, so it is important to take extra care with naked flames.

“Pumpkin lanterns can also be dangerous. It is important to make sure that candles in them are properly secured and that the lanterns are fully extinguished when no one is in the room. Our best advice is use candle effect LED lights, they are a far safer alternative to naked flames”

WATCH | This video shows just how quickly and fiercely flames took hold and how the costumes were completely destroyed within seconds.

Stay safe this Halloween by following our fire safety advice:

  • It is far safer to use flickering LED candles than real candles in pumpkins and as part of displays.
  • Make sure that fancy dress costumes and masks are labelled as flame-resistant.
  • Don't use flammable materials to make home-made costumes. Be especially careful about using bin liners as capes
  • Keep children away from naked flames and don’t let them carry lit candles or lanterns with a real candle in them.
  • If you must use candles make sure they are securely placed in a correct holder away from curtains, cushions and draughts in a place where they are not likely to be knocked over.
  • Make sure candles are extinguished when you go to bed
  • If you are using decorative lights in your home, ensure that electricity sockets are not overloaded and that they’re switched off at the socket at night.


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