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Warning for parents to check the safety of children’s fancy dress costumes.

Tuesday 4th October 2022

Jersey Trading Standards are providing reminders to make sure that parents take some simple steps to make sure children are safe when dressing up in fancy dress costumes this Halloween.
Children enjoy dressing up in costumes during play. Children’s fancy dress costumes have to comply with the European Toy Safety Standard EN71-2 which covers flammability testing, however they are not required to be fire proofed or fire retardant.

Jersey Trading Standards would therefore urge consumers to remain vigilant and to take a few simple steps when purchasing fancy dress costumes

  • Look for the UKCA or CE European Safety Mark when purchasing costumes and associated items (wigs and masks).
  • Purchase costumes from well-established high street shops and internet sites to ensure that the products come from reputable suppliers.
  • Check the label or packaging for the manufacturers’ name, address and postcode – avoid purchasing items which do not carry the mark.
  • Always follow safety instructions.
  • Flowing items such as fake beards, or capes can become hazardous if they are likely to be worn near naked flames such as candles.
  • Ensure that you use only fire-retardant costumes and masks for dressing up.
  • Remember that plastic capes and bin liners which are sometimes used as a costume can pose a fire risk.
  • Only allow children access to toy axes, swords and other costume accessories under strict supervision.
  • Do not give children products that are intended for adult use only.
  • Wear clothes under the costumes, they offer vital extra seconds of protection for the skin should the worst happen.
  • Change the scary mask for face paints instead (remember to do an allergy test first before applying!)
  • Swap candles for battery operated tealights or glow sticks
  • Do not leave candles unattended and ensure they are fully extinguished at bedtime.

Every year children and adults around the UK are injured in accidents where lighted candles or fireworks have ignited flammable fur and hair on costumes. Plastic capes are also a risk and even home-made costumes containing crepe paper, bin bags or sheets may be hazardous.

Costumes should have a degree of fire resistance so if they caught light, for example on a candle at a Halloween party, they would burn slowly, allowing the wearer to remove the item before an injury was caused.

All types of clothing can burn rapidly when accidently ignited by contact with an open flame or significant heat source. This can cause serious injury, burns and potentially death. As a result of the increased risk, mandatory regulations are in place to control the fire performance of the fabrics used in nightwear and toys, along with compulsory labelling to make sure that consumers are more aware of the dangers.

The British Retail Consortium and its members have introduced two voluntary Codes of Practice to improve the safety of children’s dressing up clothing that are available for anyone to use.

1. Additional flammability labelling,

2. Methods of testing for flammability.

These requirements are in addition to the requirements of the Toy Safety Directive -En71-2

Parents need to realise that these clothes can pose a significant risk, this is not a matter of cost, more expensive costumes are not necessarily safer. All Halloween and fancy-dress costumes you buy should carry a CE or UKCA mark on the label.

As with all clothing, Halloween and fancy- dress outfits should always be kept away from fire, lit candles and all other naked flames.


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