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From Greenish Ghouls to Glowing Gargoyles, Standards Dress Up for the Party This Halloween

This Sunday, millions of goblins, ghosts, and witches will take to the streets of America in celebration of Halloween. And as these kids go door to door for their sugar fix, standards are there to assure they get more treats than tricks.

While the holiday typically conjures thoughts of candy and costumes, Halloween actually dates back to the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced "sow-an"). Meaning "summer's end," Samhain marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the darker half of the year. Ancient Celts believed that on this night the border between this world and the next blurred, allowing spirits, both benevolent and evil, to crossover. To ward off the malevolent spirits and escape harm, the Celts disguised themselves in otherworldly costumes and masks.

Though most people no longer believe in ghosts and goblins, the tradition of dressing up as creatures of all kinds is stronger than ever. And one of the simplest ways to transform even the most pedestrian costume is with makeup. Halloween cosmetics today come in every shade imaginable, from ghoulish greens to shocking pinks to luminous glow-in-the-darks. But Halloween cosmetics can be frightening for sensitive skin too, underlining the value of ingredient and product testing.

CTFA Technical Guidelines - Safety Guidelines, provides manufacturers of cosmetic, toiletry, and fragrance products guidance on pre-clinical and clinical safety testing. Developed by the Personal Care Products Council, the guidelines are intended to substantiate the safety of both ingredients and finished cosmetic products. The Personal Care Products Council is a member of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and a national trade association for the cosmetic and personal care products industry.

They say that imitation is the best form of flattery. Whether dressing up as a prominent political figure, pop culture icon, or Dracula, kids of all ages should check for the "Flame Resistant" label when choosing a store-bought costume. While this label does not mean that the item can not catch fire, it does indicate that it will resist burning and should extinguish quickly once removed from the source of ignition. Textiles that meet ASTM International's ASTM D6413, Standard Test Method for Flame Resistance of Textiles, have been tested under controlled laboratory conditions to measure their response to heat and flame.

For those who find trick-or-treating by moonlight positively thrilling, reflective materials added to homemade or purchased costumes can help keep Halloween revelers visible and safe after dark. ASTM E1501, Standard Specification for Nighttime Photometric Performance of Retroreflective Pedestrian Markings for Visibility Enhancement, covers the performance of retroreflective markings on objects worn by pedestrians to increase visibility. Objects include jackets, shirts, vests, trousers, socks, backpacks, hats, and footwear, so ASTM E1501 can help to highlight any costume, be it ninja, witch, gargoyle, or alien!


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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