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.

Relevant links and resources for professionals


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