Tonight is Halloween ~ Let’s Keep Those Ghosts and Goblins Safe

Posted at 2:30 p.m.

Children dressed in costumes excitedly running door to door to trick-or-treat, festive decorations like glowing jack-o-lanterns, paper ghosts and dried cornstalks adorning front porches – these are some of the classic hallmarks of Halloween that make the holiday special for kids and adults alike.

Unfortunately, these Halloween symbols and activities can also present lurking fire risks that have the potential to become truly scary. But by planning ahead, you can help make this Halloween a fire-safe one. Taking simple fire safety precautions like keeping decorations far away from open flames and using battery-operated candles or glow-sticks in jack-o-lanterns can help ensure your holiday remains festive and fun!

Traditional jack-o-lanterns with candles are a tremendous fire hazard. A better way to light up your jack-o-lantern is to use a small string of holiday lights with yellow and red flashing bulbs. Additionally, small battery powered candles can be used.

You’ve now created a “fire safe” jack-o-lantern that will send a chill down every goblin’s spine. If your children areHalloween preparing to go trick-or-treating, take these safety precautions:

Whether you’re lighting a jack-o-lantern or making costumes, use these tips from the National Fire Protection Association and the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department to make your Halloween safe and fun.

  • Use flashlights or battery-operated candles for Halloween decorations.
  • Keep Halloween decorations away from open flames, light bulbs and heaters. Decorations like cornstalks and crepe paper can catch on fire easily.
  • Look for “Flame Resistant” or “Flame Retardant” labels on costumes because candles and flammable costumes can be a dangerous combination. If you make costumes at home, choose flame-resistant fabrics like nylon and polyester.
  • Tell kids to stay away from candles and jack-o’-lanterns that may be on steps and porches. Their costumes could catch fire if they get too close.
  • Never let a group of children trick-or-treat alone. Adult supervision is a safety “must” during Halloween.
  • Use sidewalks when trick or treating. Cross only at street corners and crosswalks.
  • Make sure your children can see and be seen. Expand the eye holes in commercial masks to improve peripheral vision. Add reflective tape to costumes to make them more visible to motorists.
  • Tell the children to remove their masks and look both ways before they cross a street.

Meanwhile, the Fairfax County Police Department encourages drivers to pay attention and remember that excited trick-or-treaters are probably not paying attention to you and your car.

  • Stay alert, as children tend to be preoccupied with Halloween festivities.
  • Leave driveways and parking spaces slowly, and double-check that no one is in the way.
  • Drive slowly, particularly through residential areas.
  • Do not pass vehicles stopped in the roadway, as they may be stopped for pedestrians.
  • Don’t let yourself get distracted by your phone – avoid distractions and stay alert!

And of course we shouldn’t forget our pets. Be sure to keep chocolate up and away from your pet(s) as it can be poisonous to them. Additionally, not all trick-or-treaters like dogs – so make sure to keep your pet on a leash or behind a gate away from the front door! And ensure that your pet has identification on in the event that they accidentally get loose.

Let’s keep all our gremlins, ghosts and goblins safe to enjoy another Halloween celebration next year.

To learn more about the causes of Halloween-related fires, visit And for more safety tips and info, visit NewsCenter’s Guide to Halloween in Fairfax County.

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About Fairfax County Emergency Information

Official emergency information about preparedness, response and recovery from Fairfax County Government.

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