Children's Halloween Costumes Set Alight By Firefighters As Warning To Parents

Firefighters have set children's Halloween costumes alight to highlight the dangers of flammable outfits to parents.

Members of the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) held a flame to Halloween costumes bought on local high streets, and found the outfits became immersed in flames within nine seconds.

They shared a video of the experiment on their YouTube channel, as a warning to parents.

A fireman holds a flame up to a child's fancy dress costume

Geoff Harris, assistant county fire officer and director of prevention and protection, said: "We want everyone to enjoy Halloween, but we also need to warn parents about the dangers of these costumes - they look great, but some of them are incredibly flammable.

"The material these costumes are made of melts when it burns and it will stick to the skin causing horrific injuries."

The costume was consumed by the flames within moments

GMFRS advise parents to keep children away from naked flames and use battery-powered candles instead of real ones in pumpkins.

If parents do plan to have lit candles, Harris advises considering putting the candles in a glass jar to avoid any chance of the flame catching a costume.

He also recommended parents shouldn't take children to bonfires or firework displays when they are wearing fancy dress costumes.

If a child's costume does catch on fire, the team at GMFRS advise children to "stop, drop and roll".

Explaining the concept, the National Fire Protection Association states: "Stop – the fire victim must stop, ceasing any movement which may fan the flames or hamper those attempting to put the fire out.

"Drop – the fire victim must drop to the ground, lying down if possible, covering their face with their hands to avoid facial injury.

"Roll – the fire victim must roll on the ground in an effort to extinguish the fire by depriving it of oxygen. If the victim is on a rug or one is nearby, they can roll the rug around themselves to further extinguish the flame."

Claudia Winkleman has been campaigning to raise the safety standard of children's fancy dress outfits after her daughter's Halloween costume caught fire in 2014.

Winkleman appeared on Watchdog to discuss the fact that children's costumes are considered as "toys" rather than "clothes" and as such don't undergo the same vigorous testing as clothes.

In June 2015, Winkleman's campaign was considered a success as Sainsbury's, Tesco and Asda all promised to apply more rigorous testing to fancy dress outfits.

Winkleman was pleased, telling The Mirror: "I love Sainsbury’s for it. Others are doing it too. I had to so something.”

James Brown, director of non-food at Sainbury's told HuffPost UK Parents at the time: "We have looked at every detail of our children’s dress-up range in creating our new standard and believe that it will be industry-leading.

"This has not been a simple task, but the safety of children is our number one priority and introducing more rigorous safety standards for our children’s dress-up is the right thing to do."

Since the campaign was launched, some online retailers selling Halloween costumes have made their heightened safety testing clear on their website.

On, a children's Halloween butterfly costume available from ages one upwards states: "In the interest of children's safety, this costume has been tested to toy safety standards BS EN71.

"In addition, we have tested this garment to the same fire regulations as children's nightwear. Despite additional testing, please be safe around candles and naked flames including tea lights in pumpkins and sparklers."

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