For many people, Halloween and Bonfire night is an enjoyable, harmless few days to partake in activities with family and friends. However, for many it can be a frightening time, especially vulnerable people including the elderly, and those with physical and mental disabilities.
Halloween and Bonfire Night also sees a spike in anti-social behaviour, with people believing they can get away with bad behaviour just because it is Halloween. The police are aware of this and increase patrols around this time, particularly focusing on areas where trouble is well known, and where many vulnerable people live. As well as patrols, other plans are put into place, such as local shops not selling flour and eggs on the night of Halloween.
Please see below for some useful tips on keeping you, your family and the local community safe during this period.
If you are a parent/guardian of young children
· Be sure that either you or another responsible adult accompanies your children.
· Encourage your child to stay with their friends and not to split up into smaller groups.
· Advise your children not to talk to strangers and not to go into anyone’s house.
· Talk with your children about road safety, encouraging them to stick to areas that are well lit, to wear something bright so that drivers can see them and take extra care when crossing roads.
· Make sure that your child looks out for ‘No Trick No Treat No Thanks’ posters. Residents will put these up on their doors or windows if they don’t want to be disturbed
· If someone does not answer the door, move on! They may not want trick or treaters or may be vulnerable and frightened.
· Throw away any treats or sweets that have been opened or unwrapped and do not accept home made treats.
· Do not attend unauthorised bonfires, attend an organised event instead.
If you are a parent/guardian of teenage children
· What they are planning to do?
· Where they are going?
· Who they are going with?
· What time, and how they will be getting home?
· To think about what they are doing
· Not to cause distress or annoyance to others
· Not to cause damage to property
· Not to put themselves or others in danger
· If they are under 18 they cannot possess a firework in a public place
· Police often put a dispersal zone in place at locations that have previously been hotspots for ASB. This is in order to reduce incidents and protect the public. Please ensure your child is not attending an area with a dispersal zone as this may lead to further Police action being taken against them.
If you are feeling nervous about the upcoming period
· Do not open your door if you don’t know who is there, use a spy hole, look out of the window or use a door chain if you decide to open your door.
· Have a contact number of a relative, friend or good neighbour close by in case you need to call them.
· If you feel frightened lock windows and doors, keep the house well lit and close the curtains.
· If you are part of a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme, let your co-ordinator know that you will be on your own at Halloween. If you are a co-ordinator, identify people that may be alone and offer them reassurance.
· Avoid putting out Halloween decorations if you do not want visitors, this is an indicator for some children to call at a house to trick or treat.
· Put a sign on your door and inside your window that states clearly whether trick-or-treaters are welcome. If you run out of sweets and goodies to give to visitors, put a sign on your door that says “Sorry, no more treats”.
· If you feel threatened call 101 or 999 in an emergency.
· Secure property such as wheelie bins and fence panels to prevent them being removed and used for unauthorised bonfires.
· If you see an unauthorised bonfire being built, report this to your Local Authority for removal. If the unauthorised bonfire has been lit, report this to the Fire Service.
· Check on vulnerable neighbours.