Test finds some Halloween costumes highly flammable

Safety check on Halloween costumes

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS 11)--Halloween is just about a month away, and that means it’s time to start thinking about costumes for your children. Before you head out to buy them, WHAS is on your side, keeping you safe.

When picking out a Halloween costume for your children, you’re probably thinking about a lot of different things. Maybe their favorite super hero, or their favorite color, but what you might forget to check is the label. Many of them say “keep away from flames,” or as WHAS discovered, some of them should.

“I knew it was going to go fast, I just didn’t know it was going to go that fast,” said Erika Janes with Norton Children’s Hospital as she watched a costume go up in flames.

“This one has no warning on it at all,” said Janes referencing a Rapunzel outfit. With the Zoneton Fire Department on hand, we put the costumes to the test to see what would happen if they came in contact with a candle used in Jack-O’-lanters or to light walkways for Halloween.

“Oh, and we see what happens, quickly,” said Janes.

The Rapunzel costume was made mostly from 100% polyester, with just one piece having a small portion of “metallic lining.” It took only 90 seconds for the costume to go from normal, to about 90% disintegrated.

“I am shocked and I’m scared,” was Jane’s response to seeing the fire eat through the costume so quickly.

We tested other costumes as well, many of them did have warnings saying “keep away from fire.”

“Sure wouldn’t want to be cooking marshmallows at a bonfire with this one on,” said Janes watching a polyester Wonder Woman costume catch fire. It didn’t catch as quickly as the Rapunzel outfit, but once it did, the costume burned quickly. The accessories with it, arm bands, were even quicker, melting in only seconds.

“This is instantly on her skin, top and bottom, so we’re going to have serious burns, and if it’s flaming, we’re looking at minimum of second, if not more, third degree burns,” said Janes.

A Mad Hatter wig made out of 100% olefin, a synthetic fiber, was also quick and easy to light. The flames took off in just a few seconds.

Our best results came with a Scooby Doo outfit, 100 percent polyester. It was harder to get started. Once it got going, it did spread, but at a much slower rate than the other costumes.

“Parents need to know that this could happen,” said Janes. “Keep your kids away from any source of flame, and if possible, look for costumes - you may have to spend a little bit more - but look for costumes that are flame retardant or flame resistant.”

In addition to looking for fire retardant costumes, it’s also a good idea to use battery-powered candles instead of the real deal. And just in case, you should remind your children how to stop, drop, and roll before you head out the door to trick-or-treat.

(© 2016 WHAS)


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