Warning to parents over unsafe Halloween costumes

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Families across Scotland have been urged to make sure they buy safe Halloween costumes with shoppers being urged to check garments for a CE mark which shows compliance with European safety standards.

The warning comes from consumeradvice.scot ahead of tonight’s celebrations who say the costumes should only be bought from a reputable retailer with health, safety and environmental rules being met.

Under EU rules, fancy dress costumes are technically classed as toys meaning they do not need to go through strict flammability tests.

In 2014 the daughter of TV presenter Claudia Winkleman was engulfed in flames after her Halloween costume caught fire causing severe burns. The Strictly Come Dancing host’s daughter Matilda was just eight when she was left with severe burns on her leg after the witch’s outfit she was wearing brushed against a candle while the family were trick or treating with friends. Winkleman has said she “doesn’t like Halloween” because of the horrific incident.

Anyone in Scotland with concerns about a product should contact consumeradvice.scot, which was launched in April this year with Scottish Government funding following the devolution of further powers to Holyrood.

It provides free and impartial advice to people on any consumer issues. Experts advise people of their legal rights, and can also refer complaints to Trading Standards Scotland, but cannot carry out legal action on a consumer’s behalf. The service is operated by the charity Advice Direct Scotland.

Andrew Bartlett, chief executive of consumeradvice.scot, said: “Halloween is great fun for children across Scotland, but it’s important to check costumes are safe before they go out guising. The same applies for adults attending Halloween parties with friends and colleagues.

“It’s vital to look for a CE mark and it’s good advice to purchase new products from a reputable retailer, rather than second-hand costumes that may not meet current safety standards. Anyone with concerns about a product can contact our advisers for free, impartial and practical advice.”

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service have issued advice for parents when choosing or making a costume, to avoid billowing or long trailing fabric and make sure it is flame retardant.

In recent years, both Sainsbury’s and Asda have increased their fire safety standards.