How to select a spooky – and safe – costume this Halloween!
Halloween is a magical time for children to enjoy some spirited scares and fiendish fun, but it can turn into a real nightmare if you encounter dangerous costume disasters.
This year Halloween is going to look very different but, however you’re planning to get into the spirit, whether it’s fun at home, a virtual party or a scare trail around the neighbourhood, one thing for sure is that we’ll still be dressing up our little witches, ghosts and ghouls to ensure they have a spooktacular time!
Before you decide on their costumes and cosmetics it’s important to watch out for a few simple safety precautions to prevent burns, falls and laceration injuries, as Halloween fancy dress has been implicated in a number of serious accidents.
In 2014, TV presenter Claudia Winkleman’s daughter, Matilda, suffered severe burns when her costume caught fire. This terrible incident brought the issue of children’s fancy dress safety into the spotlight.
Over the last few years, there have been a number of concerning reports about how quickly a child’s Halloween costume can catch fire. In response to this, the British Retail Consortium introduced flammability measures which have been adopted by thousands of retailers. The measures form a voluntary code of practice for retailers to follow to ensure costumes have a maximum burn rate three times slower than the current requirements.
Here are our top tips on what to look for when selecting a Halloween costume:
- Check for the CE mark on the label to ensure the costume has been tested for flammability.
- Make sure it says “flame-resistant” and avoid any outfits that say “keep away from fire”.
- Avoid big, baggy outfits or large capes to help minimise the risk of contact with candles and other fire sources.
- Brightly coloured or florescent costumes or accessories are a great way to ensure clear visibility to motorists.
- Get costumes that fit well. Costumes which drag on the floor are more likely to cause slips, trips and falls and could be a fire hazard.
- Think carefully about masks and ensure they have eye holes large enough to ensure visibility is not impaired.
- Check the ratings and reviews to see what feedback other customers have provided.
- Avoid cheap cosmetics or face paints as they can cause serious allergic reactions, and ensure to read the instructions of any cosmetics you do buy carefully. Always perform a patch test and if you notice any adverse symptoms, such as itching or burning, immediately remove it and seek medical advice.
- Buy from a trusted retailer. The retailer is responsible for the safety of the costumes they sell.
WHAT SHOULD YOU WATCH OUT FOR IF YOU’RE CREATING A COSTUME AT HOME?
With many of us at home this Halloween, it may be tempting to get artistic and design our own homemade creations for the kids. But, be aware that homemade fancy dress costumes have not been tested to the same flammability standards and may ignite easily and burn quicker than CE approved outfits.
That’s not to say you can’t get crafty this Halloween, but be careful with the materials you choose to ensure safety remains the top priority:
- Use inherently flame-resistant fabrics, such as polyester and nylon. These materials will resist burning if exposed to an open flame.
- Avoid using cotton and cotton/polyester blends as these materials can be the most flammable.
- They can provide the perfect finishing touch to homemade costumes, but avoid accessories such as cotton balls, too much glitter or netted material as these are highly flammable.
Don’t get tricked this Halloween into buying or creating a costume which is unsafe. Be cautious and kit out the kids in some scary, but safe, costumes which will ensure they have a happy and safe Halloween.