Halloween: Stay safe, considerate . . . and spooky

Fri 18 Oct, 2019

Poster: Keep your child away from candles and open flames. Look out for trailing or loose parts of costumes. Avoid decorating your home with candles for visiting trick or treaters. Be considerate of people who may not be celebrating Halloween.

Please don’t let Halloween become scary for all the wrong reasons, warn firefighters. Every year on 31 October, children and adults are injured in accidents where candles have set fire to costumes or hair. Plastic capes and bin liners, often used as costumes, are also fire risks. 

Jo Cook, Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service's Community Safety and Safeguarding Manager said: “We don’t want to stop people enjoying Halloween, but we do want them to celebrate safely. There is nothing more terrifying than having a fire at home or seeing your clothes catch fire.

“Please also follow the advice from our police and council colleagues, and don’t frighten and annoy residents by being anti-social.” 

A “No trick or treat - please enjoy your night without disturbing ours” poster is available on the Thame Valley Police website here to download and print.

Jo offered the following safety advice, both for homeowners or party organisers, and parents with children who will be dressing up:  


- Buy from a trusted store or website. If you’re shopping online, check who you are buying from. If it’s a third-party seller, find out as much about them as you can.

- Fancy dress costumes should be tested for flammability. Look for the CE mark on the label - this certifies it’s been tested.

- Read all the safety information on the label and online. If it’s clothing for small children, check for laces, drawstrings, and small, trailing or floaty parts.

- Look for ratings and reviews from other customers who have given feedback.

- Is it safe? Visit productrecall.campaign.gov.uk and check the costume hasn’t been recalled. It’s quick to do and could make a big difference.

- Don't use flammable materials to make home-made costumes. 

- Keep children away from naked flames at all times. 

Lanterns and candles 

- Think carefully about the fire risks – particularly the possibility of the candle falling over - if making homemade lanterns. Flickering LED candles are safer than real candles. 

- Never allow small children to carry lanterns lit by naked flames. The handle could become hot and the child could slip. 

- Lanterns should never be made from plastic bottles or other plastic containers. 

- Make sure candles are securely placed in a correct holder away from draughts, and placed where they are not likely to be knocked over. 

- Never let children play near candles. 

- Ensure that the candles are extinguished completely at night. 


- If you are using decorative lights in your home, ensure that the electricity sockets are not overloaded. 

- Decorative lights should be switched off at the mains last thing at night, or if the bulbs need changing.