CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- For many kids, Halloween is a holiday to dress up and eat lots of candy. But for some, it’s a night that can also bring a few real-life scares.
Doctors with Carolina’s Medical Center say on Halloween night, visits to the Emergency Room spike. They say the majority of injuries are cut and pierce injuries from kids running to get candy and tripping on their costume or from not being able to see clearly through a mask.
Children are also twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween night, according to State Farm.
But one hazard often not thought about is fire. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 3,500 children suffered Halloween related injuries in 2011, including at least 16 cases in which children under 15 suffered burns.
They say the source of the flame often comes from a candle or jack-o-latern. So how do popular children’s costumes perform under fire? The Zoneton Fire Department in Kentucky recently put several costumes to the test.
"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, who was on-hand to assist the firefighters.
The first costume, a girl’s Rapunzel princess dress, lit at the bottom with a lighter. Its tag says it’s made of 100 percent polyester. It took just 90 seconds to melt into a charred mess.
Next up, a wonder woman costume. It too made of 100 percent polyester and it too didn’t take long to catch fire. The accessories that came with it, burned even faster – melting in a matter of seconds. And that was the case for each of the costumes lit.
"Parents need to know that this could happen, so 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,” says Janes.
Fire officials also recommend that houses which will be giving out candy, refrain from using traditional candles and instead opt for battery powered, flameless candles.