With the countdown to Halloween and Bonfire night underway, people taking part in the festivities are reminded to follow seasonal safety advice.
Some people, especially young children and teenagers, enjoy dressing up and going out to trick or treat their neighbours.
For others, including some older people, who may feel more vulnerable after dark, and who do not welcome trick or treaters knocking on their doors, Halloween can be a difficult night.
As a result, Hampshire Constabulary and the Safer North Hampshire community safety team are reminding people to adhere to the following advice before they go out trick or treating:
• If your child is going outside in a costume –ensure they are wearing reflective clothing or add reflective tape to their clothes.
• Carry a torch and a mobile phone.
• Ensure children/young people go out in a group, accompanied by an adult.
• Have a route planned and agree on a time they will be home.
• Ensure young people are respectful of other people’s property.
• Consider road safety at all times.
• Ensure young people know not to talk to strangers on the street or accept lifts.
• Ensure young people know not to go inside anyone’s house.
The following advice is aimed at older or vulnerable members of the community staying at home this Halloween, who want to be left alone to enjoy their evening without disturbance:
• If you do not know who is calling at your house, you do not need to open the door.
• Look through a spy hole or window before opening the door, if you are unsure.
• If you have a chain on your door – keep this in place when opening the door.
• If you feel threatened in your home, call the police on 999.
Councillor Ken Muschamp, chairman of the Safer North Hampshire Partnership, said: “We want everyone to enjoy Halloween, whether they wish to mark the event or ignore it. For those who want to celebrate the occasion, please follow our advice and ensure your children are under your supervision at all times. For those who simply want to be left alone, display a “no trick or treat” poster clearly in your window, and don’t open the door.”
People can discourage trick or treaters by downloading and displaying a copy of the “No trick or treat” poster here.
If you are part of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, let your coordinator know that you will be on your own at Halloween. If you are a coordinator, you should identify people in your scheme that may be vulnerable and offer them reassurance.
Local youth workers, in partnership with Hampshire Constabulary, will also be out across the area on Halloween night, ensuring that everyone has a safe and fun evening.
People are also urged to remember the fireworks code as major events such as Bonfire Night, Diwali, New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year all take place in the next few months. Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service recommends attending an organised bonfire or fireworks display, but for people planning to host a fireworks party, follow the fireworks code:
• Store fireworks in a closed box and take them out one at a time.
• Follow the instructions on each firework. Use a torch to read them, never a naked flame.
• Keep a bucket of water nearby.
• Make sure everyone stands well back and pets are kept indoors.
• Light fireworks at arm’s length, using the taper provided.
• Never go back to a lit firework – even if it hasn’t gone off, it could still explode.
• Don’t drink alcohol if responsible for setting off fireworks.
• Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114 – this proves the product meets British safety standards.
For more information about the firework code, visit www.hantsfire.gov.uk/fireworks.