IT is the time of year that fills parents with a combination of joy and dread.

Halloween kicks off a three month extravaganza of parties and events, with Christmas not far away and Bonfire Night in-between. It can be an expensive time for families and with the cost-of-living crisis continuing to hit hard, this year is likely to be more difficult than most.

But in the midst all of the fun, it is important to remember that safety should never be compromised.

Firefighters have today issued a stark warning over flammable Halloween costumes that can catch fire in the blink of an eye. In a string of safety tests fire chiefs watched as some costumes, bought in the North East, were engulfed in flames in seconds.

From pumpkin costumes to witch outfits and princess dresses, many of those on sale could be extremely dangerous. Most outfits are actually classed as toys and so do not have to meet the same fire safety requirements as clothing.

Think carefully about what you’re dressing your child in this Halloween. The consequences of not doing so could be terrifying.