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How to stay safe at Halloween

28th September 2017

Halloween is an ancient tradition that over the years has transformed into a widely celebrated event. While children and adults alike are planning costumes, others are anticipating the day with dread, especially those suffering from anxiety and worrying about strangers coming to their home. Many find the constant doorbell ringing inconvenient, especially those who take time getting between floors with a straight home stairlift.


There is a lot of information on keeping young trick or treaters safe throughout the evening, but there is a lack of insight about how to comfort older adults who may not enjoy the festivities.

Put up a poster


If someone doesn’t wish to take part in the festivities, informing trick or treaters you do not wish to be disturbed is a simple way of avoiding any unpleasantness. Many local police forces create a poster that can be downloaded and printed. The more official posters ask trick or treaters to not disturb the house and come with a warning that they should be respected. The poster above is courtesy of Horsham District Community Safety Partnership which involves representatives from Sussex Police and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.


People that wish to be involved but do not want to be opening the door all evening could put up a different sign and leave a basket of treats somewhere obvious. If this is a more attractive option, regularly checking to see if the vessel of treats is empty, and then changing the sign, ensures no one is disappointed and homes are not disturbed. 

Avoid driving after dark


On Halloween, there are lots of children walking between houses and costumes are rarely high visibility. With so many sweets on offer and often only a couple of parents between lots of children, some children may be liable to run out unexpectedly. Avoiding the roads means removing the stress and worry that a child may do something reckless. If people wish to go out, either organise to travel to the event before dark falls, or travel with a friend who can help watch for possible hazards. 

Go to an event


People may not want to stay home and deal with the trick or treaters, but that doesn’t mean they should miss out on the fun. Finding a local event with a Halloween theme is a great way to celebrate the occasion without fear or disruption. The opportunity to go with friends or family is a wonderful way to get into the spirit, but it can also help people socialise and get into the community.


The English Heritage hosts events up and down the country in beautiful old buildings that are mostly aimed towards family fun, meaning they should not be too terrifying. Alternatively, local community centres will probably have fun and safe activities that will help people enjoy the holiday. 

Have friends over


Going out in the depth of October may not seem appealing to everyone, or a local community may only have events that are not to everyone’s taste. One way to avoid this is to host a Halloween gathering at home. Designing a menu with a seasonal twist could include recipes with pumpkin or those that are visually a little gruesome. Staying in with friends and family does much to keep away anxiety.


Having guests over means people can take turns answering the door to trick or treaters, and those who feel uncomfortable never have to open the door alone. Watching fun Halloween films or playing murder mystery type games is a great way to entertain with a festive twist. 

Remove any trip hazards


If there is regular traffic to and from the front door, one practical way of ensuring safety is to remove dangling wires and cables. After multiple trips to and from the front door, it is easy to forget and trip.


Bearing in mind that Halloween and Firework Night are some of the busiest evenings for emergency services. This can mean long delays in non-emergency and not life-threatening instances, so staying safe is essential. 

Know your rights

Knowing what is and isn’t legal is confidence inspiring, especially for those who decide to stay at home.


It is against the law to throw eggs and flour and is considered anti-social behaviour. The consequences of such actions can include a £80 fine and a police visit.


You do not have to open the door to either adults or children, nor should you let them into a house, even under the pretence of using a bathroom.


Nobody should feel pressured to give out money. Sweets are the long-accepted treat at Halloween, though there should be caution that sweets do not contain nuts for children with allergies. Hard boiled sweets can also be considered a choking hazard. 


Image Credit: Asartira, Amella ExtraMatthew Hutchinson

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.