How flammable is your child's Halloween costume?

How flammable is your child's Halloween costume?

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We purchased several popular Halloween costumes ranging between $25-$35 from local retailers and put them to the test to see which one was the most flammable. We purchased several popular Halloween costumes ranging between $25-$35 from local retailers and put them to the test to see which one was the most flammable.
First up, a fairy princess costume. In less than a minute the flames had crept up the sparkly purple costume. In four minutes it was nearly destroyed. First up, a fairy princess costume. In less than a minute the flames had crept up the sparkly purple costume. In four minutes it was nearly destroyed.
The blonde "Little Diva" wig went up in flames in about 45 seconds. The blonde "Little Diva" wig went up in flames in about 45 seconds.
The most flammable costume of all the ones we looked at was an old-fashioned ghost made from a cotton/polyester blend sheet. It was fully engulfed in about 10 seconds. The most flammable costume of all the ones we looked at was an old-fashioned ghost made from a cotton/polyester blend sheet. It was fully engulfed in about 10 seconds.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE)   Halloween can be one of the spookiest time of the year for parents who have to worry about trick-or-treating dangers and hazardous costumes.

Many parents know to ensure their children wear reflective or light-color costumes and to make sure they don't trip on a costume that's too big, but another danger comes when costumes brush up against an open flame.

The Knoxville Fire Department helped 6 News take a look at the flammability standards for costumes to find out if they really keep your kids safe.

Flickering jack-o-lanterns will welcome trick-or-treaters Halloween night but those open flames can pose quite the hazard to your child.

"Kids aren't thinking about that, all there thinking about is the reward, the treat they're going to get, they're not really paying attention," explained Captain D.J. Corcoran with the Knoxville Fire Department.

We purchased several popular Halloween costumes ranging between $25-$35 from local retailers and put them to the test to see which one was the most flammable.

First up, a fairy princess costume. In less than a minute the flames had crept up the sparkly purple costume. In four minutes it was nearly destroyed.

Next, we put a flame to a child's fire fighter costume. The flames moved slower but the material melted quickly.

"What happens with something like this, if a child is wearing it and it did burn, it's going to melt and touch their skin and it's going to continue to burn. They're not going to be able to put it out and it's going to melt to their skin," explained Corcoran.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, costumes must be flame resistant. On the costumes we found, only one had a warning to "Keep away from flames." The CPSC recommends parents purchase costumes made of polyester because they're slower to burn.

The Superman costume made of polyester demonstrated that. It caught fire but quickly extinguished itself.

Even with a label that says a costume is fire resistant, all materials will eventually burn. Accessories are no exception.

A the blonde "Little Diva" wig went up in flames in about 45 seconds.

"There might be candles in doors on a buffet, if they lean across and their wig touches a flame, it can ignite very quickly," Corcoran explained.

The most flammable costume of all the ones we looked at was an old-fashioned ghost made from a cotton/polyester blend sheet. It was fully engulfed in about 10 seconds.

We showed the results to several parents shopping for costumes.

"Wow," exclaimed Andrika Langham who was out looking for a costume for her two young daughters. "Girls we're going to have to be on the look out for any pumpkins with candles," she said after watching the video.

Becky Whitehorn was out picking up costumes for her children and was spooked by what she saw.

"Wow, my daughter's going to be a princess so that's kind of a concern," Whitehorn said after seeing the fairy princess costume go up in flames.

Corcoran says there are several tips parents should remember when shopping for a costume.

  • Check the label for the words "fire resistant" or "fire retardant"
  • Look for costumes with a UL rating
  • Avoid costumes with dangling parts, like capes or flowing ribbons
  • Make sure costumes don't drag on the ground

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