Children dressed in costumes excitedly running door to door to trick-or-treat, festive decorations like glowing jack-o-lanterns, paper ghosts and dried cornstalks adorning front porches – these are some of the classic hallmarks of Halloween that make the holiday special for kids and adults alike.
Unfortunately, these Halloween symbols and activities can also present lurking fire risks that have the potential to become truly scary. But by planning ahead, you can help make this Halloween a fire-safe one. Taking simple fire safety precautions like keeping decorations far away from open flames and using battery-operated candles or glow-sticks in jack-o-lanterns can help ensure your holiday remains festive and fun.
Top five Halloween fire safety tips
- Use a battery-operated candle or glow stick in jack-o-lanterns
- When choosing costumes, stay away from long trailing fabric
- Teach children to stay away from open flames, including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them.
- Dried flowers, cornstalks, and crepe paper catch fire easily. Keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters
- Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.
- Remember to keep exits clear of decorations so nothing blocks escape routes. Make sure all smoke alarms are working.
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Halloween fire facts
- From 2013-2017, an average of 780 home structure fires began with decorations per year.
More than two of every five (44%) of these fires occurred because the decorations were too close to a heat source, such as a candle or hot equipment.
More than one-third (37%) of these fires were started by candles.
One-fifth (21%) of the decoration fires started in the kitchen; 16% began in the living room.
Source: NFPA Applied Research
More NFPA Halloween-related information