With families around the country gearing up to enjoy Halloween and Bonfire Night celebrations, various organisations have been offering their advice as to how we can all take steps to ensure that these events can be enjoyed by everyone in a safe and responsible way.
Staying Safe at Halloween
For young children, Halloween night is one of the best of the year. But trick-or-treating can be dangerous if kids and parents aren’t careful. To ensure stay safe whilst out trick or treating, Police have offered residents the following advice:
- Only trick or treat in your own neighbourhood unless you're with an adult
- Stay in well lit areas where there are plenty of houses
- Make sure an adult knows the area you plan to visit and what time you'll be back
- Look out for 'no callers please' posters and respect your neighbours
- Keep to pavements and trick or treat on one side of the street before crossing safely to the other side - don't criss-cross
- Wait to eat any treats until you get home so that an adult can check them
- Don't cut through back alleys, tenfoots or fields, and don't trick or treat too far from home
- Don't go alone - take an adult with you or stay in a group
- If you do decide to go trick or treating, please respect the wishes of householders who do not wish to take part, and please do not use the season as an excuse for anti-social or intimidating behaviour.
- Even if you are not involved in trick or treating, bear in mind the following:
- Not everyone appreciates trick or treaters. To prevent unwanted ghosts and ghouls, put a 'no callers' note on your front door.
- If you are prepared to receive the local monsters, switch on your outside light and remove any trip hazards. If you set lanterns outside your front door with candles in them, make sure that they are far enough out of the way so that costumes won't accidentally be set on fire.
- If you are driving on the evening of the 31st, remember that excited children don't always do as they are expected, so slow down in residential areas and take extra care.
Staying safe on Bonfire Night
According to research conducted by Aviva Insurance over a ten year period, the number of reported thefts are 22% on Bonfire Night compared to the average day. However, a survey of 2500 UK homeowners reveals that one in five of us who have held fireworks party’s in the garden admit to leaving the back door unlocked to make it easier for friends and neighbours to come and go as they please. And over one in ten even go as far as leaving the front door unlocked.
Nearly two-thirds say they do not check their windows are locked before heading out to the back garden, and only a third take steps to ensure that their valuables are not visible from the outside and out of sight from opportunist thieves.
For that reason, insurance companies have offered the following advice to help homeowners protect their valuables during this period:
- Put the car or bikes in the garage or out of the way for the night and don’t leave your keys in an obvious place.
- Use all the locks and bolts on your doors – they’re there for a reason!
- Don’t put spare keys in obvious places like under the doormat or a flower pot.
- Give the impression that someone is home by leaving the radio on a talk-back station and a few lights on.
- If you’re holding a party at home, avoid leaving a sign on your front door telling guests to meet you in the garden or ‘come in around the back’.
In addition to securing your home it is also important to make sure you take care when setting off bangers and rockets as fences and conservatories, in particular, can easily get hit by stray fireworks. West Midlands Police have offered the following guidance on fireworks:
- It is illegal to set off fireworks after midnight
- Don’t buy display fireworks unless you are a fireworks professional
- If you’re under 18 it is illegal to possess an adult firework in a public place
- Please be safe, and have fun!
If you have any concerns about anti-social behaviour over this period you can call the police on the 101 non-emergency number. Complaints about firework misuse in public places should be reported to the police on 0845 113 5000.
In an emergency, always call 999 to speak with the Police, Fire, or Ambulance Service.