Halloween is a holiday filled with jack-o-lanterns, costumes and decorations. But each of these can present significant hazards, including burns from flammable costumes that come into contact with open flames-particularly candles used to illuminate jack-o-lanterns; falls from ill-fitting costumes, shoes, and accessories; and fires caused by burning candles left unattended, near combustible decorations or knocked over by guests or pets.
The federal Flammable Fabrics Act (FFA) requires all costumes sold at retail to be flame-resistant and the CPSC recalls costumes and other products that violate the FFA. When making a costume at home, CPSC warns consumers to use fabrics that inherently are flame resistant, such as nylon and polyester.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, Halloween ranks among the top 5 days of the year for candle-related fires. Many styles of battery-operated flameless candles and other flameless lighting are available, providing safe alternatives to traditional candles. If you choose to use traditional candles in your decorating, never leave lit candles unattended.
Additional safety tips to help make this year’s holiday safe:
- Do not place candles and jack o’ lanterns on landings or doorsteps, where costumes could brush against the flame.
- Remove obstacles from lawns, steps, and porches which may pose a trip hazard to trick-or-treaters.
- When indoors, keep candles and jack o’ lanterns away from curtains, decorations, and other items that could ignite.
- Whether indoors or outside, use only decorative light strands that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory. Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Replace damaged sets.
- Don’t overload extension cords, stacking too many sets on one plug is dangerous.