Fire chiefs have warned parents to think twice about using candles this Halloween and said costumes can go up in flames in a matter of seconds.
Mams and dads across Tyne and Wear may be making the last touches to their family’s Halloween plans ahead of a night of trick or treating on Monday.
Whether that’s pumpkin carving, stocking up on sweets or preparing the children’s Halloween costumes, excitement is building.
But officers at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) have today urged parents to take extra measures to keep their family safe on the scariest night of the year.
Their top tip is for families to use electric candles instead of naked flames, due to just how flammable some Halloween costumes can be.
From pumpkin costumes, to witch outfits, and princess dresses, many of those on sale on the High Street can go up in flames in a matter of seconds.
Station Manager Jonathan Ramanayake, of the Prevention and Education Department at TWFRS, said many costumes are still classed as toys – meaning they’re not subject to the same fire safety checks as every-day clothing.
He said: “For many families, Halloween is one of the most enjoyable times of the year, with an opportunity to make memories that will last a life time.
“We don’t want to put a downer on those plans but we do want to make sure that children and adults alike can enjoy it as safely as possible.
“The big tip we have is to use LED candles wherever possible. Naked flames can be dangerous at the best of times but they can be a real hazard in the excitement of Halloween.
“Halloween costumes do undergo fire safety tests and we work with retailers to ensure they’re as safe as possible. Labelling is also clearer than ever before.
“But at the end of the day, many costumes are actually classed as toys and so do not have to meet the same fire safety requirements as clothing.
“The materials can be flammable and there have been examples across the country of children being severely burned when costumes have caught fire.
“We are not suggesting children can’t wear a costume, but just avoid exposing them to a flame and use electric candles wherever possible to safeguard your family.
“If you’re trick or treating in the dark, then please also make sure you stay on footpaths and remain highly visible to motorists travelling through the area.”
Parents are advised that, if the worst does happen and a costume catches fire, a child should ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’ until the flames are out.
For more safety advice, and information about the Darker Nights campaign, please visit the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service website.
This year’s campaign is focused on encouraging young people not to start fires or play with fireworks, as they’re putting themselves at risk of life changing injuries.