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Don’t let Halloween become a real-life horror story for children

Published: 29 October 2019

Parents and carers are being urged to take care when buying fancy dress costumes for their children this Halloween.

To avoid facing real horror, parents are asked by our trading standards team to think about the potential dangers that could come with children’s fancy dress clothing, especially around open flames.  

We are backing a campaign by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) and the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) to raise awareness about the safety standards to look out for.

Councillor Carol Hart, our Cabinet Member for Health and Communities, said:

“Halloween should be a fun time for children. We can help to make sure it stays that way by taking care when buying costumes and making sure children stay away from naked flames.

“Nobody wants Halloween to turn into a real-life horror story, leaving someone with injuries or even permanent scars.”

Shoppers need to look for the CE mark, which shows that the products meet the Toy Safety Directive. Some manufacturers now go even further than that. Items sold in the UK by a member of the British Retail Consortium are now likely to have been made to a higher standard of fire safety and are labelled with the words 'this garment has undergone additional safety testing for flammability’. Many British supermarkets have signed up to stocking Halloween products that conform to these new measures.

And parents are particularly urged to take care when buying wigs and masks and to make sure that they stay away from fire, candles and all other naked flames, especially as masks can restrict people’s view. In 2018 one Halloween mask was recalled due to fears of excessive use of phthalates, a potentially carcinogenic substance.

People shopping online are also advised to buy from a legitimate UK source to ensure that the products comply with national safety standards.

If anyone sees non-CE marked costumes on sale they can report them to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on tel: 03454 040506.

Read more about Halloween costume safety advice.