Halloween Hazards: Candles vs. Costumes

MISSOULA - Halloween is just days away and we have done some research to find out what the biggest hazards are during the holiday.

Whatever list you're looking at, candles are at the top of Halloween hazards. Fire crews say any time you mix open flames with kids, it can be a recipe for disaster.

"If you have kids running around, if you're hosting a Halloween party, there's a lot of activity and somebody could easily knock some of those candles over and catch some of their clothing or costumes on fire and create a big problem," said Mel Holtz, Frenchtown Rural Fire District public information officer.

The flame may be small but it poses a big risk to kids who are in costume. All costumes sold in the United States must be flame resistant. We asked firefighters to show us what difference that makes.

We put a commercial witch costume and a homemade sheet ghost costume to the test. The ghost costume ignited and went up in flames quickly, however, when we lit the commercial witch costume on fire, it burned for a bit but the fire resistant treatment put the flames out. Firefighters say this is a big reason parents should consider store-bought costumes.

"We have a lot of people making homemade costumes out there, but that's just another danger that there my not be fire-proof material built into that cotton or built into that material, and especially if it's loose, can cause a hazard," said Holtz.

Firefighters also recommend swapping the real flames for LED candles or glow sticks to prevent your Halloween from haunting you after the holiday.

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