The real Halloween horror: Fire hazards. Avoid them with these tips from the fire marshal

Oct. 27, 2022

Halloween fire prevention tips graphic with tips listed in this blog

Halloween may be a night for horrors, but nothing frightens ​Minnesota's State Fire Marsha​l Division like the fire hazards that come along with it.

“Halloween is a time for fun and spooky celebrations and activities, but it can also be a time for some truly scary fire hazards. As the night nears, take simple precautions that can help ensure Halloween remains fun and fire safe," said State Fire Marshal Jim Smith.

Halloween safety tips:​

  • Avoid costumes with long or billowing fabric that can be a fire hazard.
  • Use battery operated candles or glow sticks inside jack-o-lanterns.
  • Teach children to stay away from open flames and to stop, drop, and roll if their clothes catch fire.
  • Keep decorations like hay, straw, and corn stalks away from any ignition source.
  • Avoid having an outdoor fire on Halloween night. Those fires can throw sparks and pop embers onto costumed kids.

Halloween costumes are cute, but many are made from flimsy fabric that can catch fire easily. Stay away from costumes that include long trailing fabric that can end up in a lit pumpkin before you even notice. Also, if your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can see out.

Tell your kids to stay away from all open flames, including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. Have them practice stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with their hands and rolling over and over to put the flames out.

Spooky decorations help set the Halloween mood, but they can be dangerous if you're not careful. Decorations are the first thing to ignite in roughly 800 reported home fires each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. More than a third of those were started by a candle.

Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper catch fire easily. Keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters.

If you do use a real candle inside your jack-o-lantern, be very careful. Light them using long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and out of the way of trick-or-treaters or walkways.

Remember to keep exits clear of decorations so nothing blocks escape routes. And, as always, make sure your smoke alarms are working.