31/10/2016 | John Brennan

Stay safe this Halloween

Halloween

31/10/2016 | John Brennan

Stay safe this Halloween

Apple bobbing, trick-or-treating and fancy dress… A day full of excitement, right?

The popular, fear-inspired holiday, Halloween is celebrated all over the UK with many adults and children alike choosing to dress up in spook-tacular fashion. But ghosts and witches aren’t the only things to watch out for.

Accident statistics given to the BBC show that in 2014, 94 people were admitted to hospital after their clothing setting alight or melting.

In the same year, Claudia Winkleman’s then eight-year-old daughter suffered serious burns after her witch costume set on fire. In a bid to save her life, Jamie Poulton put out the flames with his bare hands and was left with second-degree burns. His heroism not only prevented an even worse injury, but also avoided nine huddled children in a doorway from setting alight whilst trick-or-treating. He described the moment as a ‘potential horror film’. Like a domino effect about to topple in front of him, he said ‘… they were all going to go. Once she goes, then the next one catches and they’re all going to go’.

A large amount of fancy dress costumes aren’t subject to the same strict fire regulation testing as everyday clothing because they are classified as toys. However, following the tragic incident, Winkleman started a campaign and appeared on Watchdog. Her aim is to increase the safety standards of fancy dress outfits, in a bid for costumes to be tested like clothing, rather than toys. As a result, Halloween costumes are set to face more serious fire safety testing. Already Sainsbury’s has promised to improve their measures of their fancy dress range to match the same fire safety standards as nightwear. And likewise, Tesco and Asda have been applying more robust testing.

Whether you’re planning on accompanying your little devils trick-or-treating or planning a party yourself, with these handy tips, you can relax on Halloween knowing the real frights have been dealt with.

Costumes

  • Read the label – check for ‘Flame Resistant’/ ’CE’. This doesn’t mean items won’t catch fire, but they will temporarily resist burning and extinguish more quickly before a more serious burn occurs
  • Don’t use flammable materials if you’re hand-making your costume (especially bin bags, fake hair and plastic capes)

Candles

  • Avoid open flames – use a candle holder, or even better, use LED candles
  • Never let children play near candles
  • Keep flammable materials away from open flames
  • Extinguish all candles at night

But remember, fire isn’t the only risk on Halloween…

Allergens

Whilst the majority of parents only have to worry about decaying teeth – many people who suffer with food allergies have to take extra precaution.

  • Don’t know it? Don’t eat it – check the label to ensure any allergens aren’t present. If it’s not in labelled wrapping, throw it out

Pedestrian safety

A study by FedEx (2011) revealed that shockingly, on average, twice as many child pedestrians are killed whilst out on Halloween compared to any other day of the year.

  • Stay visible – flashing lights and bright clothing are a great idea and can be incorporated with outfit ideas
  • Stick together – young children (under 12) should be accompanied at all times
  • Don’t enter a stranger’s home
  • Don’t go clowning around… keep your ‘tricks’ safe. Any behaviour that may cause damage to a property or harm to someone is a crime

With the creepy clown craze sweeping the UK and the first criminal record given to a 19 year old man for posing as a ‘killer clown, we suggest you steer clear of the clown-inspired costumes this year. Your average bloke seeking a good night out could be hugely misinterpreted, as clowning around now comes with harsher consequences.

The information contained in this blog article has been created for marketing purposes and is not official guidance and should not be used as a substitute for official Food Safety, Fire Safety and Health & Safety advice. Shield Safety take no responsibility if the information in the blog article is used to form part of a safety management system or used to form part of any legal or regulatory compliance for your business. For official guidance and to engage with Shield Safety services please do call our team on 020 3740 3744 or email hello@shieldsafety.co.uk.