London Fire Brigade

Keep fancy dress costumes away from naked flames this Halloween

27 October 2015

We are urging people to take extra care around candles and reminding those in fancy dress to keep their costumes well away from naked flames this Halloween.

Last year, television presenter Claudia Winkelman spoke of the horror of seeing her eight-year-old daughter's witch costume go up in flames when it brushed against a candle inside a Halloween pumpkin while out trick-or-treating.

Fancy dress costumes often have tassels, capes and other adornments that can trail and easily catch alight if they accidentally brush against a flame, which is why it is crucial candles are kept well away from flammable items to minimise the risk of a serious fire and injury.

Candles are one of the biggest causes of fires in the home and although they can be used to create a dark and spooky atmosphere, they should never be left unattended or Londoners risk finding a real horror scene on their return.

In the last five years there have been 86 fire related injuries in London between Halloween and Bonfire Night and 14 of these have been as a result of fires related to candles.

The Brigade attends around 27 fires a month caused by candles, incense and oil burners.

'We don't want to risk unnecessary frights'

London Fire Brigade's Community Safety Group Manager Mark Hazelton, said: "The ordeal experienced by Claudia's daughter and her family is a shocking but timely reminder that open flames can be extremely dangerous if you don’t keep an eye on them or they are left unattended.

"This is especially true if you are wearing clothing or fancy dress costumes that can accidentally brush against a naked flame without you noticing.

"London Fire Brigade is not out to try and spoil anyone's fun or celebrations leading up to Halloween, but we don't want people to risk unnecessary frights.

"All we ask is that extra care is taken around candles and other naked flames, especially if you or your loved ones are wearing fancy dress."

Our top candle safety tips

  • Keep candles well away from items that could catch fire like fancy dress costumes
  • Place candles on a heat resistant surface, like a ceramic plate
  • Never leave a candle unattended
  • Always fully extinguish a candle before going to sleep or going out

Further safety advice about using candles safely can be found on our candles and naked flames page.