Department of Fire Rescue  |  Halloween Safety


  • Purchase only costumes, wigs and props labeled flame-resistant or flame-retardant. When creating a costume, choose material that won't easily ignite if it comes in contact with heat or flame. Avoid billowing or long trailing features.
  • Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs, heaters, etc.
  • Use extreme caution when decorating with candles, and supervise children at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside Jack-O-Lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches and be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from all combustible items. Pumpkins can also be illuminated with small, inexpensive flashlights.
  • Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, ensuring nothing blocks escape routes.
  • Use flashlights as alternatives to candles or torch lights when decorating walkways and yards. They are much safer for trick-or-treaters, whose costumes may brush against the lighting.
  • Instruct children to stay away from open flames or other heat sources. Be sure children know how to stop, drop, and roll in the event their clothing catches fire. (Stop immediately, drop to the ground, covering your face with your hands, and roll over and over to extinguish flames.)
  • Instruct children who are attending parties at others' homes to locate the exits and plan how they would get out in an emergency.
  • Provide children with lightweight flashlights to carry for lighting or as part of their costume.



  • Have grown-ups make sure your costume is fire-safe (there should be a flame-resistant or flame-retardant label on store bought costumes, wigs and props (such as magic wands, hats, and tails...).
  • Costumes shouldn't have baggy sleeves or billowing capes, they could easily catch on fire if you brush against a candle or jack-o-lantern.
  • Be on the look out and stay away from open flames (like candles and jack-o-lanterns).
  • If your clothes catch fire, make sure to stop, drop, and roll over and over to put the fire out. It's always a good idea to practice!
  • Make your costume nice and bright so drivers can see you -- use retro reflective tape (when light hits the tape it bounces back), use a glow stick or carry a flashlight.
  • Follow the rules of the road. When crossing the street, stop at the curb or edge of the road. Look left, then right, then left again for moving cars before crossing. Kids 10 years old and younger should cross the street with a grown-up.
  • Make sure a grown-up goes with you when trick-or-treating.
  • Lastly, have grown-ups check your candy before you eat it (and don't forget to brush your teeth afterwards)!

Please contact our Prevention Divison & Office of the Fire Marshal for more information

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Fire Rescue
460 Stagecoach Road
Charlottesville, VA 22902
FAX: 434-972-4123
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