FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, October 27, 2014

DCA Division of Fire Safety Issues Halloween Safety Recommendations

Families are urged to Recognize Fire Hazards Associated with Using Lights, Candles, and Other Decorations

TRENTON, N.J. The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) Division of Fire Safety, in advance of the Halloween celebration, has issued a series of Halloween fire prevention guidelines and associated fire hazards that come along with the use of elaborate home decorations. Halloween can be a fun and spooky time of year for kids. But to ensure that the festivities remain enjoyable and safe for trick-or-treaters and party guests alike, proper safety measures should be taken, even before Halloween arrives.

The Division encourages children and parents to take a few simple safety precautions to reduce risks and avoid injuries during Halloween where hidden dangers also come in disguise.

"A tour of any residential street in suburban New Jersey shows that Halloween decorations are becoming as common as those we see on more traditional holidays," said William Kramer, Jr., Acting Director of the Division of Fire Safety and State Fire Marshal. "However, the improper use of accent lighting combined with the seasonal trappings of hay and dried corn stalks may prove a fire hazard."

The Division’s most recent annual report, "Fire in New Jersey 2013," identified 80 percent of reported

fire-related incidents as, residential fires, also the state’s leading cause of fire fatality.


In response, the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety has developed a series of Halloween fire safety recommendations designed to spread awareness of possible hazards.


  • Home decorations or costumes that feature dried flowers, dried cornstalks, crêpe paper or paper maiche are extremely flammable. All such items should be kept far away from heat sources, lighting and lit candles.


  • Flame resistant costumes are best. Avoid long, loose fit material. Also, masks with large eye openings are ideal for optimal visibility. 


  • Animated decorations should be installed far away from the home and should not block any exits. Place them on a timer to prevent overheating. 


  • Place pumpkins with real candles far away from trick-or-treating areas.


  • All children should have flashlights or glow sticks while trick-or-treating. Additionally, participating chaperones should carry flashlights at all times. 


  • The safest lighted jack-o-lantern is battery operated. Using real candles for this purpose and for other interior decorations should be avoided. There are many excellent LED candle products offered as alternatives to the wax and live flame varieties. 


  • For decorative lighting, choose LED over incandescent lights. LED’s low heat and energy-saving capability is ideal. 


         Practice the traditional Stop, Drop, and Roll drill with children and toddlers while they are dressed in their costumes.


         Finally, keep all children close to you and do not lose sight of them!


The National Fire Protection Association offers additional Halloween Safety Tips at their website: 


The Division of Fire Safety serves as the central fire service agency in the State. The Division is responsible for the development and enforcement of the State Uniform Fire Code, as well as for implementing community risk reduction and firefighter training programs.