Halloween costumes and fancy dress
What are the risks surrounding fancy dress?
Whether for a specific occasion like Halloween, or simply playing around the house, young children love to dress up. Unfortunately, fancy dress clothing has been implicated in a number of serious accidents.
Toy dress-up clothing can burn rapidly when accidentally ignited by contact with an open flame, such as a candle or open fire. This can cause serious injury, burns, and potentially death. Children are especially vulnerable in circumstances when they are playing without adult supervision.
Advice for parents
- Check that all Halloween and fancy dress costumes you buy carry a CE mark on the label
- As with all clothing, Halloween and fancy dress outfits should always be kept away from fire, lit candles and all other naked flames
- If lit candles are part of your celebrations always follow their safety guidelines, and remember:
- Always supervise children and pets if using lit candles
- Do not allow children to carry, play, reach over, light or be near lit candles
- Never leave a burning candle unattended
- Remember always to extinguish a candle completely after use
- Take care when using candles at Halloween. Do not carry pumpkins with lit candles inside, consider using battery-operated candles instead
- Children should always be supervised by a suitable adult
- If fireworks are part of your celebrations, follow the Firework Code (see our fireworks safety page for more information)
- Be aware that homemade fancy dress costumes or those not tested to the same flammability standards may ignite easily and burn quicker
- Ensure children can be seen in the dark; ideally they should wear something reflective such as a reflective strip, and carry a torch.