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As Frankenstein says, 'Fire bad.'

Oct. 30, 2017

There are two kinds of scary: The kind where you get a little thrill but you know you’ll be all right (think scary movies and haunted houses). And then there’s the kind of scary where you genuinely fear for your life…like during a house fire. Halloween, despite being a fun holiday, can have a tendency to bring those two types of scary together.

Photo of a jack-o-lantern.
Photo: You can use glow sticks or battery-operated candles instead of open flames to light your jack-o-lanterns. Read on for more Halloween fire prevention tips.

But with a few simple precautions, you can make sure the frights are limited to the little ghosts and witches showing up at your door for candy. Here are some fire safety tips that can help your Halloween stay on the fun side of scary.


Cornstalks are so festive this time of year—and so flammable. Keep them, dried flowers, and crepe paper well away from open flames and heat sources like light bulbs and heaters. And if you want to recreate the pumpkin patch from Charlie Brown, that’s fine – just make sure the Great Pumpkin (and any other decoration) isn’t blocking any escape routes. And who needs real candles in those carved pumpkins? Battery-operated candles and glow sticks are much safer and work just as well.


When choosing costumes for your kiddos to trick-or-treat in, expand on Edna Mode’s advice from “The Incredibles”: “No capes!” Loose, flowing fabric can easily billow over a candle or other open flame, so make sure costumes fit well and are made of flame-resistant materials. Also be sure any masks have large eye holes so that kids can see well enough to steer clear of hazards.


Glow sticks and bracelets are a fun, affordable way to make trick-or-treaters more visible. Put one inside their candy bucket or bag or, if it’s opaque, wrap one around their arm. Teach costumed kiddos to be careful around porch decorations, especially jack-o-lanterns. Tell them that if they see a flame, they need to stay away from it!

So go ahead: Make your Halloween as scary as possible. With these safety tips and a little common sense, you can make sure it’s an evening of fun frights and not tragic terrors.