Halloween Safety: Plan Your Costumes
It seems everywhere you shop at present, from garden centres to card shops, there is a bewildering variety of Halloween costumes available, for adults and children alike. The key is to only buy costumes and props that carry the CE European Safety marks.
- CE marked costumes should be fire retardant, vital during a festival involving candles and lanterns
- Props carrying the mark should be soft and not cause injury, such as plastic swords or pitchforks, etc
- Face makeup is a lot safer than face masks, as plastic masks can restrict vision, and are incredibly hot to wear too. Only buy face-painting kits that carry the CE mark and are to EN71 standard. (Every year UK Trading Standards receive a stream of complaints about substandard makeup causing nasty skin rashes)
- Always get a costume that fits, so children (or you) don’t trip over it
Halloween is a great time to create your own costumes, but the same rules apply:
- Try and buy flame-retardant fabric where possible, or treat finished costumes with a water-based fire-proofing spray as used on theatre costumes
- NEVER use black plastic bin bags as fabric for cloaks or similar. Emergency units at hospitals report that every Halloween they deal with cases of severe burns where costumes made from plastics and untreated fabrics have caught alight
- Buy any weapon-style props from a shop; home-made props can be heavy and potentially dangerous if picked up by someone else
Halloween Safety: Pumpkin Carving
The tradition of pumpkin carving to create jack o’ lanterns actually began in Europe, using swedes or turnips, but today most supermarkets sell field-grown pumpkins for the purpose. (If you’ve grown your own, the contents can make fabulous pumpkin pie!)
- Pumpkin outer skin is tough and you will probably need a sharp and sturdy knife to cut through it. Never let children carve pumpkins on their own
- It may seem dull, but the best light for inside a lantern is an electric bulb with a battery. If you prefer a real flame, use a tealight rather than a tall candle, which comes in its own metal container. These are easy to handle and don’t burn the pumpkin itself, and are easy to replace
- It’s always best to place your pumpkin lantern outside your home, well clear of paths so it won’t get knocked over
- Remember to extinguish your lanterns when you go to bed
Halloween Safety: Trick or Treating
In today’s society, responsible trick or treating is all about being Safe and being Seen.
- Children should ALWAYS be accompanied by an adult, whatever their ages
- NEVER enter a house, flat or car; always stay on the doorstep
- Adults should check all sweets or treat to check they have not been tampered with. Children with allergies should not accept any foods, just in case
- Children should only visit houses where they know the residents, and should respect any household with a “No trick or treat” notice on their door. Children should also appreciate that older residents may find masked youngsters potentially intimidating
- Plan your route along well-lit roads with pavements wherever possible
- Always take a good torch or two. Our lightweight LED Ultra-torch is water-resistant, just in case the British weather does its usual thing
- Been seen at all times; adults should wear a hi-vis jacket. Also, kit the kids out with their own ‘spooky’ green or yellow 12-hour glowsticks, so you can keep track of them at all times
- Children should always wear proper shoes, and warm clothing under their costumes. Carry an umbrella too; light synthetic costumes get wet and cold very quickly even in light rain
- Take care with any costumes with long cloaks or floating sleeves, as they could catch in doorways or get trodden on!
Halloween Safety: Fire and Fireworks
Traditionally, bonfires were lit on Samhain, the Celtic festival that our Halloween is based on, but fireworks were never part of the festivities. Fireworks are inherently extremely dangerous, so we always recommend that you don’t buy them at Halloween. Save your money and take the family to an organised firework display for Guy Fawkes/Bonfire night instead, just five days later!
Halloween Safety: Your Halloween Party
Halloween isn’t just for the kids. If you are planning a Halloween party, here are a few ideas to keep your guests safe.
- Decorate your home with an eye to fire safety. Don’t place decorations or false cobwebs close to naked light bulbs, for example, and keep any decorations out of your cooking area
- Pumpkin jack o’ lanterns are just as effective with a small electric light inside as a real candle – and are far less dangerous. If you do want candlelight at your party, it’s best to use tealights in heavy tealight holders, and place them well away from reach of the dancing area!
- Only buy costumes that have the CE safety mark and are fire-retardant. If you hire a costume, check it too is fire-retardant