Is the flammable reality of Halloween more frightening than the spooky stories?

fire materials

Halloween may be over for another year, but ‘Killer clowns’ aren’t the only potential danger to watch out for.

Last year, Halloween headlines were rocked by the news that the 8-year old daughter of Strictly Come Dancing co-host Claudia Winkleman had suffered severe burns after her costume caught alight.

The material these costumes are made of melts when it burns and it will stick to the skin causing horrific injuries.

fire materials

The television personality has been sharing the real life horror story since the event happened – and attempting to shed light on the fact that many Halloween costumes are classed as toys, rather than clothing, and are therefore not subject to clothing standards, including fire resistance.

Under EN71-2, outfits are set alight in controlled conditions. The flame must not spread faster than 3cm per second. Anything with a burning rate between 1cm and 3cm per second must carry a label saying: ‘Warning! Keep away from fire.’

In 2015, Manchester Fire Service tested a variety of childrens’ Halloween costumes, some of which melted away after just 9 seconds. Fire services across the country are now calling on parents to be vigilant, and to choose LED lights rather than candles as part of the spooky festivities.

Parents are being asked to be extra cautious around the festivities, although fire services urge that there is no reason not to take part in the fun. By making yourself fully informed of the precautions you should take to reduce the chances of flammable materials becoming potentially life threatening.

It is of great concern that these costumes do not need to fall under standard clothing regulations, which while not preventing material from being completely fire resistant, do give parents and children a chance of putting out the flame, or of removing the garment before serious burns are caused.

If you are working on research into Fire Resistant Materials, Polymers or Composites – view the conference information for the FRPM17 conference here.