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Halloween costumes can be flammable October 21, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Entertainment.

It’s almost time for trick or treating, and that means getting your kids Halloween costumes. While dressing up is fun, it can also be a fire hazard.

Halloween night, a mother dressed her daughter in a store-bought costume. But as her daughter was trick or treating, she passed too close to a lighted Jack o’ Lantern.

“It was like fire, like all around me,” the little girl said. She suffered first and third degree burns “We went to the emergency room. They had to scrub the costume off the skin,” the mother added.

Dr. James Jeng knows firsthand what burns can do. He runs the Burn Center at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC.

“An open flame is an invitation to have an accident, and you mix that with people dressing up in costumes that they are not usually accustomed to wearing and it’s a bit of a bad mix,” he said.

Costumes in their packages look cute, and anything but menacing. Some even come with a tag that says flame resistant or retardant. One flame resistant costume stopped burning when the flame was removed, but that was not the case with some other packaged costumes. When a cheerleader costume’s rope-like trim was lit, the costume burned up completely in less than three minutes. The foam on a ninja collar proved particularly flammable. Even a cute, plush Lil Monster costume for a toddler within three minutes was destroyed by fire.

You also need to be careful around accessories like a feather boa, which proved highly flammable. A bed sheet you may use to make a ghost can be reduced to a ball of flames in less than a minute. To make a costume more flame resistant, mix the following:

4 oz. Boric acid
9 oz. Borax
Dissolve in one gallon warm water
Soak costume, let drip dry

“It’s something you can make at home with over the counter things from the pharmacy and what it does is keep clothing from lighting up rapidly if it were to catch on fire,” said Dr. Jeng.

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