DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – On Halloween, ghouls and goblins will be roaming the streets of the Triangle.
In 2011, more than 3,500 Halloween-related injuries were reported by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Many of those injuries included burns from Halloween costumes catching on fire.
WNCN put some Halloween costumes to the test with the help of the Durham Fire Department.
First on the list was a costume many young girls might wear, Anna from Disney’s “Frozen.” The costume is made 100 percent of polyester. The costume was lit on fire at the bottom of the outfit.
“You saw the flames move across the costume there. After a period of time, it put itself out. Fire retardant properties there,” said Battalion Chief Jeff Roberts, Durham Fire Department.
We then tried lighting the costume from the top.
“It’s burning really quickly,” Roberts said.
In less than three minutes, the costume was destroyed.
“The material, as it burned and dripped, it lit more of the material on fire and was able to sustain the combustion a little more readily,” Roberts explained.
Next up: a cape.
“It had some foam in it and as you can see it burned really quickly,” Roberts said.
Foam, which is found in many Halloween accessories, can increase the potential catching on fire. In under a minute, the cape was in pieces.
Firefighters say it’s a good idea to stay away from costumes with lots of fabrics like capes.
The last costume tested was a witch’s hat with hair. The item even had a warning on it that said to keep it away from flames.
In just under two minutes, most of the hair was gone and there was a large hole in the hat from the flames.
“You could still have significant burns, especially from the dripping. Those drips can stick to the skin or light other parts of the costume on fire,” Roberts said.
Other Halloween dangers include burning candles in jack-o-lanterns, fire pits and torches.
The Durham Fire Department recommends using flameless candles as a safer alternative.
Firefighters say if you are in a situation on this Halloween, where your costume were to catch on fire, the best thing you can do is “stop, drop and roll.”