Flammability Testing of Halloween Costumes

By 24th October 2019fire
Halloween costume safety

Over the past few years, ever since Claudia Winkleman’s daughter got severely burned when her Halloween costume caught fire, there has been a wariness around Halloween costume safety and the flammability of such fabrics used within these costumes. A flammable fabric propagates a flame, meaning it continues to burn after the initial ignited flame has been removed.

There are a lot of criticisms regarding the current British Regulations for flammability when it comes to testing Halloween costume safety. The reasoning for these criticisms, is due to the fact the British safety standard BS EN 71-2 ensures that the maximum rate per second for spreading flames is 30mm per second. This is a lot of area to be covered in a single second, in regards to clothing.

A way to check whether or not a product really is safe is to additionally test it to the standards for the British Retail Consortium, meaning that at maximum, flames can spread at 10mm per second. Which? Tested varying Halloween outfits to see whether or not they met the bare minimum requirements and the additional testing requirements.

Of the 20 outfits that were tested, 2 failed the standards to pass the EU safety standard (BS EN 71-2), while 4 failed to pass to the requirements of the BRC. The outfits that failed, had to be recalled from stores.

The reason that the restrictions for Halloween costumes is so low, is partly due to the fact that the standard BS EN 71-2 is a testing standard for toys and not clothing. Meaning it does not need to meet the same standards for flammability testing.

It is important to know what requirements products have been tested to and how to keep children safe when out for a night of trick-or-treating.

Impact Solutions are capable of carrying out fire testing to a wide number of standards to determine the flammability of your product. The popular standards are listed here, but our experts are on hand to advise on bespoke testing and setup in order to replicate real world performance.