Halloween Fire Safety Guide

Jack-o-lantern with candles

Halloween Fire Safety Guide

Halloween is just around the corner, so it’s time to whip out your jack-o-lanterns, set up your smoke machines, light your candles, and most importantly, sit your kiddos down and talk about fire safety. The conversation doesn’t need to be scary, though that would be on theme with the evening’s festivities, but just help them be aware so they (and you!) can stay safe.

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According to the U.S. Fire Administration, “For each year from 2017 to 2019, an estimated average of 9,200 fires were reported to fire departments in the United States over a 3-day period around Halloween. These fires caused an estimated annual average of 25 deaths, 100 injuries, and $117 million in property loss.” The majority of these fires happen in the afternoon to early evening and are caused by cooking. So, while Halloween parties themselves can have fire risks with all the candles, etc., we can see from this data that Halloween party prep also carries fire risks that we should be aware of to keep our children, friends, and family safe.

To get you ready for your Halloween celebration, we have these fire prevention and fire safety tips for you.

Kitchen Fire Safety

As cooking is the top source of Halloween fires, it is only appropriate to start here. Our tip for kitchen fire safety is simple: always keep an eye on your cooking. Never leave the kitchen while something is cooking on your stovetop, even if you’re planning to be right back. Most fires that happen in the home -- even on non-Halloween related days -- happen in the kitchen. So, practice caution while cooking.

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Costume Fire Safety

It sounds really cryptic to say, and we certainly aren’t aiming to use fear as a motivator, but be safety-conscious when shopping for Halloween costumes. Try to steer clear of costumes that are extremely flowy or have long, billowing fabric. This kind of costume could be a little more difficult to keep tabs on when wandering around fire hazards, likewise, should a fire happen, it will be more difficult to run away in and has more surface area to snuff out, should you need to stop, drop, and roll.

It is also a good idea to check costume labels to see if a costume is “Flame Resistant.” Flame resistant clothing is able to extinguish itself if it is removed from the ignition source, and having that extra security can give peace-of-mind, especially to parents of small children.

If costumes have lights or wiring, double check that no wires are frayed or exposed. Frayed and exposed wires are more likely to overheat or malfunction, which is a major fire hazard.

Home Fire Safety and Decorating Tips

Halloween wouldn’t be complete without at least a couple jack-o-lanterns, and you’re probably going to be decorating with some candles as well. When lighting jack-o-lantern candles, use long fireplace style matches or utility lighters to avoid getting burned. When arranging jack-o-lanterns, if you’re putting them on front steps, keep ample room for walking so that they are not a tripping hazard and keep them away from anything flammable.

If you are decorating with dried flowers, dried corn stalks, fake cobwebs, paper, or anything else flammable, be sure to arrange them away from open flames and heat sources including light bulbs, heated blankets, and space heaters.

When cleaning and preparing your home for more people, make sure that all your doorways are clear from extra decorations or chairs. Keep fire escapes clear just in case there is an emergency.

Also, if you like to smoke, check your home and garage and make sure all cigarette butts are properly disposed of.

Sometimes people like to use black lights, smoke machines, space heaters, the works! If that’s you, by all means go all out, but be careful not to overload extension cords. Using a surge protector can help reduce fire risk, but never plug one surge protector into another. Also, be sure that your lights are laboratory tested for safety by a known testing laboratory.

Sometimes when online shopping, a deal on cheap lights may pop up, but be mindful to choose lights that won’t start on fire -- even if they are really cheap. Likewise, throw out any light strands that have broken bulbs, frayed cords, or loose connections.

Remind Your Children to be Fire-Conscious

While your children will likely be getting all excited about getting candy and dressing up, it is wise to go over a few fire safety precautions to ensure they are safe in case something happens. Remind them to be aware of entrances and exits in case of an emergency and to be careful not to get too close to candles and open flames -- especially if they are wearing a large costume with lots of fabric.

Give your children a flashlight or glow-sticks to carry as they trick-or-treat. Children should never carry candles when they are trick-or-treating.

Teaching children about fire safety doesn’t need to be a matter of scaring them or taking away their fun. Just help them understand the importance of being fire-conscious, so they can continue to have a safe and enjoyable holiday.

Happy Halloween from your STOP-FYRE® family. Stay safe out there, and God bless.