Avoiding potential Halloween dangers

October 16, 2009 (CHICAGO) The team at Underwriters Laboratories demonstrated some of the potential dangers and how to avoid them.

Underwriters Laboratories showed ABC7 how some costume can go up in flames quickly.

"Costumes can burn in 15 seconds. And once they start, you have to know the old adage stop, drop, and roll," said John Drengenberg, Underwriters Laboratories.

All costumes are flammable. Experts suggest making sure when you purchase a costume that you look at the label to make sure it is flame retardant. They also say you don't want to have it too loose fitting, frilly or fuzzy.

Drengenberg showed ABC7 a number of costumes and how rapidly the non treated fabric can go up in flames. Buying flame-retardant Halloween costumes is also important because they burn slowly, making it easier to put out the flames.

"Look for costumes that are marked flame retardant give a little more time in case of emergency," Drengenberg said.

Other tips are:

  • Keep costumes short.
  • Use face paint instead of masks that tend to block your vision.
  • Put on reflective tape so motorist can see the costumes.

Halloween also marks the beginning of the decorating season.

"When you bring your decorations out of storage take a look at them and inspect them. If you have frayed wires or cracked pockets, throw the decorations away and...make sure you don't run those cords through doors or windows," Drengenberg said.

Sometimes people use staples to tact down cords.

"That could be dangerous, it could be a shock hazard as well as a fire hazard," Drengenberg said.

One should check the UL label to see if the decorations are for outdoor use or only indoor use. "The decorations should only be used if they are green, if the circle is red in color, it means it's been tested for sunlight, cold and for rain and can be used outdoors," Drengenberg said.

Drengenberg says candles are dangerous. Put them in a sturdy holder away from children and animals and never leave a room with a lit candle. Make it a safe Halloween.

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