ILLINOIS (WCIA) — As Halloween approaches, it’s important to keep fire safety in mind to prevent decorations and costumes from turning into a real nightmare.

The U.S. Fire Administration said an average of 9,200 fires were reported over a 3-day period around Halloween from 2017 to 2019. These fires caused an annual average of 25 deaths, 100 injuries, and $117 million in property loss. The National Fire Protection Association reported that around 800 house fires a year start with decorations, often placed too close to a heat sources like candles or hot equipment.

“Halloween is an exciting time for kids and talking to them about fire safety before heading out to search for all the yummy goodies is extremely important,” Illinois State Fire Marshal James A. Rivera said. “Explain and guide your trick-or-treaters away from any open flames in jack-o-lanterns and keep their costumes away from a heating source. Use glow sticks to add an even spookier feel to your jack-o-lanterns, helping trick-or-treaters visiting your porch stay safe.”

Here are a few simple precautions that can be made to ensure a safe and fun Halloween:

  • Use a battery-operated candle or glow stick in jack-o-lanterns.
  • Choose costumes without long trailing fabric.
  • Make sure the eye holes in masks are large enough to see through clearly.
  • Teach children to avoid open flames, including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them.
  • Be sure children know the “stop, drop, and roll” technique if their clothing catches fire.
  • Be cautious with easily flammable items like dried flowers, cornstalks, and crepe paper.
  • Keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters.
  • For lighting, give children flashlights or glow sticks as part of their costume.
  • Keep exits clear of obstructions or decorations so nothing blocks escape routes. 
  • Confirm all smoke alarms are in working order.