Standards: Ensuring Quality, Safety & Spookiness on Halloween

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Line-of-pumpkins-from-iStockPhotoHalloween is approaching and is celebrated by millions around the world each year on October 31st.

At Pro QC, our teams across the globe often observe Halloween with good food, friends and festive decorations.

The history of Halloween has evolved.

“Traditional activities on Halloween include trick-or-treating, bonfires, costume parties, visiting “haunted houses” and carving jack-o-lanterns. Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century. Other western countries embraced the holiday in the late twentieth century including Ireland, the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom as well as of Australia and New Zealand.

The activity is popular in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and due to increased American cultural influence in recent years, trick-or-treating has started to occur among children in many parts of Europe, and in the Saudi Aramco camps of Dhahran, Akaria compounds and Ras Tanura in Saudi Arabia.” 

Amid all of the spooky fun, we often forget to appreciate the standards, specifications and/or other quality efforts that make this holiday safe!  For example:


Those little lights we carry around as we go door-to-door trick or treating or use to decorate our homes and offices often require batteries.

IEC 60086-1 Ed. 11.0 b:2011, Primary batteries – Part 1: General, provides nomenclature, test methods, information on typical performance and safety aspects of primary batteries. The standard – which is intended to assist consumers, designers, and manufacturers – was developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

Reference: International battery standards

Costumes & Toys –

Those cute and/or scary costumes we dress up in each year could be flammable.  But, due to standards in place, this isn’t an issue.

ISO provides important fire-related guidance in connection with wigs, fake beards, masks, and other popular elements of children’s Halloween costumes. ISO 8124-2:2007, Safety of toys – Part 2: Flammability, sets down which categories of flammable materials may not be included in any children’s toy, and provides requirements connected with the flammability of certain toys when exposed to minor amounts of flame. The International Standard was developed by ISO TC 181, Safety of Toys; ANSI member and accredited standards developer the Toy Industry Association (TIA) currently serves as the ANSI-accredited U.S. TAG Administrator to ISO TC 181. (Source)

Labels on Halloween costumes, such as the CE mark and the Flame Resistant label, show that the manufacturer has complied with national and international standards.  The label doesn’t mean that these items won’t catch fire, but it does indicate that they will resist burning and they should extinguish quickly once you get them away from the fire source,” says Maurice Buckley, CEO, NSAI.

If you’re carrying a plastic costume prop or toy such as a mask or a pitchfork, look for the CE Mark.  Under Irish and European law, toys placed on the European market must display the CE Mark. The CE Mark demonstrates that the manufacturer has complied with the Irish and European standard, I.S. EN 71 “Safety of Toys”, and the product has undergone safety testing in the design and manufacture process.

Reference: Toy Safety Standards Around the World

Of course, product quality inspections throughout the production process helps ensure product meets or exceeds expectations.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 41.1 million children went trick-or-treating in 2012. The National Retail Association estimates Americans alone are planning on spending $2.2 billion on candy this year. To satisfy this demand, the the U.S. has more than 1,500 manufacturing establishments producing candy, confectionery goods, and cocoa products as of 2011.

The ISO 22000 family of International Standards addresses food safety management.  The consequences of unsafe food can be serious and ISO’s food safety management standards help organizations identify and control food safety hazards. As many of today’s food products repeatedly cross national boundaries, International Standards are needed to ensure the safety of the global food supply chain.

Not to mention…

  • ANSI/UL 471-2006, Standard for Commercial Refrigerators and Freezers
  • ANSI/UL 197 – 2004. Standard for Commercial Electric Cooking Appliances
  • ASHRAE Refrigeration Handbook
  • NSF/ANSI 2-2005a. Food equipment
  • NSF/ANSI 51-2005. Food equipment materials
  • European Food Safety Authority – EUROPA Food Safety


Many homes and offices are decorated with electronic lights and other festive details.

All electrical products sold in the EU must also comply with safety standards and must carry a CE mark.  The mark should be visible on the product itself or on its packaging.

In the United States, electronic items must carry the UL mark and be appropriately listed.

Please contact Pro QC for additional information regarding product safety and testing.  The references here are not all-inclusive. Have a safe and fun holiday! 

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