Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service is reminding parents and anyone looking after children to keep their youngsters safe on Halloween by wearing ‘fire-safer’ costumes and avoiding candles and naked flames.

Halloween is always a busy evening for fire services, and that’s no different in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

In the last ten years, since 2010, over 200 incidents occurred in the HWFRS area on 31 October (Halloween), over a quarter of which were fire incidents.

Although fortunately just under half were ‘false alarms’, these still involved fire crews deploying when they might have been needed more urgently somewhere else.

The five most called-on fire stations were Worcester, Redditch, Hereford, Kidderminster and Bromsgrove, which have traditionally seen the busiest nights in the region.

Station Commander Steve Andrews of the HWFRS Community Risk department said: “Any shop-bought costume should include a label showing that it meets the standard EN71-2 for flammability resistance requirements for toys.

“Candles should only be used if they are static and out of reach of children – certainly not at ground level. But preferably don’t use candles with naked flames at all – swap them instead for LED lights.

“We want this Halloween to be a fun evening for people of all ages. Suitable costumes and avoiding candles and flame torches will help ensure this.

“Wishing everyone a safe and fun-filled Halloween”.

Follow these tips for a safe Halloween:

· only buy fancy dress costumes from a reputable retailer – cheap or imported costumes may not meet UK safety standards and at worst may carry fake safety labelling.

· look for labels which indicate the costume has undergone the BRC’s additional tests. It will say: ‘This garment has undergone additional safety testing for flammability’, which is reassurance the costume is safer than legally required under EN71-2’.

· always check the label – clothing will always burn if in contact with naked flames, but some much faster than others.

· keep other flammable items out children’s reach and make sure they know what to do if something catches alight.

· layer up – wear clothes under fancy dress to give a layer of protection between the costume and your skin which can help protect in the event of a fire incident.

‘Stop, Drop and Roll’

Make sure your children know what to do if their clothes catch fire: ensure they understand to stop, and not to try and run; drop and cover face with hands; and roll a few times to put out the flames.