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Halloween Safety

Posted by Hannah Francis

Halloween has become a fixture in my calendar for the last 17 years, I have taken cats, mummies witches, skeletons, pirates and a zombie bride for annual walks around our town. These are not normal walks with children, these are walks without moaning, sulking, arguing and lagging 100 yards behind the pacemaker. My zombies can in fact walk further and faster than any child I have ever known all for the promise of a bagful of sweets.

We have the usual Halloween rules, we stay together, only go to houses with decorations and pumpkins outside, always say please and thank you, we only go as far as the first drop out – if one child gives up we all go home as we leave no witch, skeleton or cat behind! At the end of the night there must be no sweet swapping arguments and the main rule to adhere to is if I ask for a sweet from the haul under no circumstances is anyone to give me any Parma violets!

We did of course have Halloween fails, the rookie error 17 years ago when I didn’t ration the sweets and took my eye of the witch who was eating them at a pace that would rival hyenas disposing of a carcass. She was sick and prematurely ended our celebrations! The cheap fake blood that didn’t wash off for school the next morning, resulting in children going to school with the remnants of slightly faded blood dripping from their mouths. And the year my six-year-old Dracula managed to fall and place a hand in a lone pile of large dog poo.

As well as the standout memories I can recall my repeated words every Halloween night to my children as they excitedly rushed up to each door, reminding them at every house to keep away from the pumpkins and sometimes guiding them away from one placed right by the doormat. This I concluded was part of Halloween Until In 2014 it was reported that TV and Radio personality Claudia Winkelman’s daughter had been standing close to a candle placed in a pumpkin. She had been wearing a store-bought Halloween costume that went up in a ball of flames, with the material reigniting and reburning then becoming sticky so it melted on to her skin. She was hospitalised and Halloween safety was propelled to forefront of parent’s minds.

Here are some Halloween fire safety tips that we should all adhere to:-

  • Only buy costumes from a reputable retailer and check for the CE marking (EN71-2), This means they have been tested for Flammability and have met the EU burn rate standard. However all costumes / clothing is flammable to some degree, so the swing tags must state to keep away from fire and naked flames. The garment must also carry a permanent label with the words WARNING! KEEP AWAY FROM FIRE (in red letters) regardless of its testing performance. There are costumes that can be bought cheaply but are more likely to catch fire seconds after exposure to a naked flame.
  • Wear clothing underneath the costume as a protective layer between the costume and your skin in case of a fire incident.
  • Teach your child the STOP DROP and ROLL technique
  • In an emergency cool any burns with large amounts of water and get urgent medical assistance.
  • Ensure you use LED lights in pumpkins
  • If LED lights are not used, do not place the pumpkin by your front door, place it away from where children might stand or walk.

There are of course other ways for children to keep safe during the evening

  • Ditch capes – as shown by Madonna nothing good comes from wearing a long cape, there are far too many trip hazards involved with this accessory.
  • Choose wisely with costume accessories – pointed and hard plastic swords, Knives, and wands can all cause injury If your witch or wizard isn’t trained in swordsmanship or wandlore!
  • Be part of a group – regroup if you become separated, don’t go alone and don’t go into strangers’ cars or homes.
  • Be seen in the dark – Glow sticks work well for the child to carry; you can also buy reflective tape to attach to the costume. You can Increase your visibility by putting your sweets in a white plastic bag or white pillowcase although this is definitely not a cool look and you may struggle to get teenagers to carry a pillowcase around their town. unsuspecting 5year olds I feel may be more willing.
  • Carry a torch – to guide your way in unlit areas.

If you are driving on Halloween take care, there will be lots of monsters around the roads, the peak time for trick or treaters is between 5.30 pm and 9.30 pm.

This year I am no longer needed on the Halloween trail, I have after 17 years become redundant as my youngest daughter will be trick or treating with friends. I look back at our October 31st nights with fondness and slight disappointment that this year I will be handing out the sweets and not watching them being collected.



Hannah Francis

Hannah is our Head office Ninja, she has been with Praxis for nearly 10 years now and the place simply wouldn't run without her!

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