With Halloween just around the corner, officials with the Casper Fire-EMS Department are reminding residents to stay fire safe when trick-or-treating or celebrating with friends.

Mark Harshman, a division chief with Casper Fire-EMS, says candles can be problematic and should not be used to light pumpkins or for decoration. Harshman recommends the use of chemical or electronic alternatives.

There are a number of products, from chemical glow sticks, to artificial candles, which really simulate a real candle,” Harshman said. “And, of course, you don’t have the heat from the flame that could cause a fire.”

Harshman says, because of the use of certain flammable materials, homemade costumes tend to be more hazardous than costumes that are commercially produced.

(Commercially-produced costumes) do have fire retardant properties,” Harshman said. “It’s the homemade costumes that you want to be careful of – you should be careful of using anything that’s combustible, like paper, cardboard and those type of materials.”

Harshman also says, because of government regulation, costumes produced by the costume industry are the safest they’ve ever been.

Officials with Casper Fire-EMS also recommend that parents remind young children about the basics of fire safety, including stop, drop and roll, prior to trick-or-treating. Fire officials also remind residents to keep decorations and other hazards away from emergency exits.

A list of Halloween fire safety tips can be found at the Casper Fire-EMS Facebook page.