Scouring the Halloween costume section of your nearby Target, Wal-Mart or Party City has become an October rite of passage for many Georgia families. While the kids are focused on finding the trappings of their latest comic book or movie hero, parents may be more concerned about making sure the costume passes the fire-resistant test. Here's how to make sure your little goblin is wearing a costume that resists a flame-up.
The Consumer Products Safety Commission reminds us that ALL costumes are, by law, required to be made of fabrics that do not burn rapidly. This not only applies to the clothing, but the accessories, too—the masks, the wigs, and any other accessory the child may carry. The easiest way to do this is to check the label on every part of the costume, not just the packaging. Look for the words "Flame-retardant," "flame-resistant," or "fire-resistant": the exact phrasing will vary by manufacturer. It's important to remember that all textiles do burn; however, fabrics that are treated with flame-resistant materials will flame up more slowly, giving the wearer (and parent) more time to react and if necessary, to "stop, drop, and roll."
If you're a dedicated do-it-yourselfer and want to make your kid's costumes, you'll need to make sure they are flame-resistant. Look for synthetic fibers such as nylon or polyester—because of their chemical makeup, they're slower to ignite. Before construction, you can add a fire-retardant spray to the fabric that will add another level of safety. Look online for brands such as Banfire or Flame-Safe.
Once you've acquired the costume of your child's dreams, make them try it on and jump around in it. (They'll probably be happy to comply.) Watch for any trailing scarves, ribbon or sashes that could get caught in a flame, and remove them. Make sure the costume fits securely—you don't want any billowing hems to catch on a lit jack o'lantern. And while you can't monitor the Halloween décor at every home where they go trick-or-treating, make sure your own door front Halloween tableaux utilizes flameless candles so that every Halloween visitor remains safe.