The potential danger of Halloween costumes has been highlighted by Hampshire firefighters.
As thousands of youngsters across the area prepare to dress in ghoulish clothes for trick or treat events, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service is reminding parents to protect their children from flammable fancy dress costumes.
They have produced a video showing the terrifying way in which some costumes can be enveloped in flames - a danger dramatically highlighted when TV presenter Claudia Winkleman’s daughter was badly burned, when her Halloween fancy dress costume caught fire in 2014.
Hampshire firefighters are encouraging people to consider alternatives to candles such as placing battery LED candles in pumpkins, which won’t blow out and are much safer.
They are also asking parents to check that any costumes they buy comply with fire safety regulations by checking the garment’s label before purchasing.
HFRS says cheaper outfits sold online or from less well known brands, are more likely to be counterfeit and could burn quickly if they catch fire.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s, Crew Manager for Community Safety, Alex Snook said children’s costumes had to meet a safety standard that states that if they catch fire, the flames must not spread faster than 30mm per second. This is to ensure there is time to remove the costume or extinguish the flames before a child is seriously injured.
He added: “Those who do enjoy celebrating Halloween we aren’t trying to spoil your fun.
'We just ask that parents keep their children well away from naked flames and ask that when picking a costume, it is fit for purpose.
'Instead of using candles to decorate a pumpkin, especially to greet trick or treaters outside your home, you could opt for battery powered LED tea lights. These are much safer and reduce the risk of burns, which can last a lifetime.
'If you were to have an accident and you or your child’s clothes caught fire remember to stop, drop and roll until the fire is out. In an emergency cool any burns with large amounts of water and get urgent medical assistance.'
For more information on how to keep safe this Halloween visit www.hantsfire.gov.uk/halloween.