Making Sure Your Halloween Costumes are Safe

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Tuesday night, costume clad youngsters across the Grand Valley will parade from home to home trick-or-treating. While everyone wants to have a good time, it's important to make sure the costumes you and your kids wear are safe.

Earlier this month, a Wisconsin man's homemade sheep costume caught on fire, leaving him with severe burns. Although your chances of catching fire on slim, local fire officials say it's something to be aware of.

"Bad mix -- Halloween costumes, and fire," said Grand Junction Fire Department spokesman Mike Page.

The Grand Junction Fire Department says using glow sticks or flashlights in pumpkins is a good way to make sure no one's costume catches on fire.

"Candles in the pumpkins are probably not the best idea," said Page. "Especially with kids running around, costumes with long sleeves, they can't see very well, and they're tripping."

The fire department also recommends buying costumes that are flame retardant. They say most Halloween costumes you buy in the stores are already manufactured this way. If a costume is not flame retardant, labels printed on the bags warn parents that they should probably steer clear of fire.

But fire isn't the only thing you need to be careful with. Dark costumes add the scary factor that many people look for on Halloween, but law enforcement says it's a factor that could lead to an unexpected accident.

"People should wear either a reflective strip on some portions of their costume that wouldn't ruin the effect of the costume, but still provide an extra safety factor," said Grand Junction Police spokeswoman Linda Bowman. "Plus, you should carry a flashlight or glow in the dark tool so that they can be seen by motorists."

Fire and law officials aren't the only ones concerned with safety. Parents say safety is one of their top priorities when picking a costume for their kids.

"You don't want anything that they're not going to be safe in," said Kendra Dansby, a Grand Junction parent. "You want them to be cute, but also to be warm, comfortable, and safe."

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