A candle inside a jack-o-lantern may look appropriately ghoulish, but it's a lot safer to illuminate pumpkins with battery-powered lights. And children's costumes should always be made of flame-resistant materials.
Those and other safety warnings are being issued by Ventura County fire officials as Halloween approaches.
Cornstalks, tissue-stuffed scarecrows and harvest-colored leaves may look festive, but they also present a fire hazard, said Sandi Wells, a spokeswoman for the Ventura County Fire Protection District.
It's best to keep tinder-dry material away from sources of heat, she said. Children should be instructed to stay away from open flames and should never be given candles as part of their costume, Wells said.
Other advice issued by the department:
* Attach reflective tape strips, available at hardware, bicycle and sporting goods stores, to children's costumes so they are more visible to motorists.
* Keep hemlines short on costumes to prevent tripping.
* A mask of cosmetics applied directly to the skin is safer than a pull-on mask that may obstruct vision.
* Remove objects such as garden tools and hoses from the yard.
* Keep small children under supervision at all times.
* If driving, watch out for trick-or-treaters.