Parents and carers coming to The Real Halloween are advised to ensure that they and any children they bring do not wear shop-bought flammable fancy dress costumes. These can be classed as toys and not tested to the same standards as normal clothes.
The risks of such costumes have been highlighted in 2015 by the case of Claudia Winkelman’s daughter and by the advice of Fire Services (see more here).
Tea lights are used in the Jam Jar Lanterns at The Real Halloween but are only lit by crew at the start of the Story in the Woods or the Parade. Being contained in a jar these should not pose an unreasonable risk if under parental/carer supervision. If on consideration, parents wish to bring battery-powered tea lights they should do so but the main event will still include use of tea lights for the story in the woods and the Parade of Animal Lanterns.
We encourage people to ‘dress up’ if they wish but advise against use of plastic or other flammable artificial materials including in home-made costumes. The atmosphere we seek to create at the event is often described as ‘medieval fairyland’ and most natural materials such as cotton or wool are relatively non-flammable as well as being more in keeping.
We have a few open but contained and attended fires on site, including to help show children how to tend a real wood fire safely, and to help maintain the atmosphere of the event. Parents and carers are reminded of their responsibility to children, including in choice of clothing and are advised that if children do attend in fancy dress costumes, they should not go near open flames. Visitors should always follow the advice of crew on site including while fire performances are in progress, when they should not leave the path.
Chris Rose, Director of the Fairyland Trust says: “We want families to enjoy themselves at The Real Halloween and we know many love the authentic atmosphere and natural surroundings. What their children wear is ultimately up to parents and carers but our advice is to try and avoid shop bought costumes unless you are confident these are non-flammable. Many people achieve great costumes by using clothes and decorations such as real leaves, which are certainly not very flammable. Some open fires and the candle lit story in the woods are an integral part of the attraction of the event.”
Read more on this issue and our approach to risk and benefit here.