This weekend will see millions of people happily descend upon the streets in their costumes to celebrate Halloween 2016. The American-influenced holiday has seen a rapid rise of popularity over the past decade - largely influenced by cult TV shows and films like Harry Potter, Twilight or the Vampire Diaries - and is now the third biggest commercial holiday here in the UK, placed only behind Christmas and Easter.
To help you ensure your Halloween is as safe as possible, we've provided 5 simple tips you can use to reduce risk to you, your party guests and the wider community.
5 Tips for a Sweet and Safe Halloween
1. Check your Costume
TV presenter Claudia Winkleman made headlines in 2014 when her daughter accidently brushed her Halloween costume past a candle, causing it to go up in flames and leaving Matilda with severe burns to her legs and in need of reconstructive surgery. The incident prompted the UK government to tighten flame retardant standards of Halloween costumes and brought to public attention that the risks associated with Halloween costumes are not to be ignored.
Mark Gardiner, product safety expert with the Chartered Trading Standards Institute urges people to check that the labels and packaging of their costume states the manufacturer’s name, address and registered trademark so the item can be traced. It should also state that it complies with local safety standards and regulations and has a CE mark. As a user, always be mindful of your surroundings when wearing a Halloween costume and avoid standing near open flames and have any loose items securely fastened.
2. Identify trip hazards
Trick-or-Treating, the epitome of Halloween. Unless you live in a rural environment, chances are you will be encounter the pitter patter of tiny ghouls, ghosts and witches upon your door armed with sweet bags, so be prepared. Walk the perimeter of your property and make sure any loose extension cables, stray water hoses or plant pots are safely tucked away so trick-or-treaters have clear route to their sweets.
3. Fire Safety
People have been carving pumpkins, or Jack o-lanterns, for centuries. Originating from an Irish myth about a man named ‘Stingy Jack’, the popular tradition has us sculpting faces into hallowed out pumpkins before illuminating them with a candle.
Although we can’t ever image Halloween without our trusty pumpkins, using open flames of any sort always carries a potential fire hazard, especially when other flammable objects are in close proximity, such as cobwebs, crepe paper or costumes. The fire protect online website has lots of tips and information on how to reduce fire risk, including using battery operated candles or LED lighting as an alternative to a lighted flame.
4. Electrical Safety
Retail analyst Alice Goody recently predicted that the Halloween market was set to grow in 2016, largely in part to millennials looking to celebrate the nostalgic holiday with Halloween parties. When it comes to decorating for the event, avoid overloading plug sockets and extension cables with multiple decorations, or leaving decorations for a long period of time, both of which can lead to overheating and become a fire hazard. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions and guidance.
5. Don’t Drink and Drive
Halloween has a reputation as one of the most alcohol-fuelled days of the year. If you’re one of the millions heading out to a Halloween party this weekend, plan ahead. Arrange how you are going to get home beforehand and stick to it. Check out the many resources available about alcohol, including an infographic, alcohol safety tips for hosting a monster Halloween bash, social graphics, and links to additional drinking and driving safety resources here.
Click to download our useful infographic below: