As Halloween creeps closer, Suffolk and Norfolk Constabularies are reminding people to keep their tricks within the law and treat residents to a show of respect.
Halloween should be a fun celebration, with children enjoying dressing up as ghosts, witches or other assorted monsters, and visiting neighbouring householders happy to hand over sweets to, as superstition suggests, ward off evil spirits.
However, occasionally groups of people knock at every door whether they know the residents or not, demanding some sort of gift or payment. For the vulnerable or older members of the community this can be both a distressing and intimidating experience.
On 31 October last year, Suffolk Police received 789 calls and Norfolk Police received 1,001; this is something they are keen to reduce this year.
Both forces will step-up patrols across the counties and are working with residents, partner agencies and local businesses to ensure sure that celebrations are safe and enjoyable for everyone.
Matt Rose, Chief Inspector, Suffolk Constabulary said: “We want everyone to enjoy Halloween but we also want to ensure everyone is safe. This time of year is always one of our busiest and I would remind people that it is not an excuse to commit anti-social activity.
“If you are planning to go out trick or treating, please make sure you only visit those who are happy to take part and please respect residents who may not want to be disturbed.
“We also remind trick or treaters to never go out alone, stay in well-lit areas, and do not go inside strangers’ houses. We will have extra patrols taking place throughout the weekend and on Monday 31 October to ensure people remain safe.”
Two Halloween posters are available to download from the Suffolk Police website for members of the public to display, indicating whether they welcome trick or treaters. These can be downloaded from: https://www.suffolk.police.uk/news/latest-news/dont-be-little-monster-halloween.
Retailers across the counties are being encouraged to restrict the sale of eggs and flour to young people in the run up to Halloween, and are being reminded of the legal requirements when it comes to selling fireworks as Bonfire Night falls in the same week.
It is illegal to sell fireworks to anyone under 18 and to sell fireworks that fly erratically including mini rockets and bangers.
During the Halloween and Bonfire Night period, safety messages will be posted from Suffolk and Norfolk Constabularys’ social media accounts using its little monsters: Vicky Vampire, Mike the Mummy, Freddie Frankenstein and Woof the Werewolf.
Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: “Trick-or-treating can be great fun, and I don’t want to spoil that fun, but I would ask that those taking part keep themselves safe and be respectful to others.
“For those on the receiving end of trick-or-treaters, particularly the old and vulnerable, it can be quite an upsetting experience. By all means, enjoy yourselves and have fun, but please give some thought to those who don’t want to join in. The safest option is to only visit people you know.”
If you do have any concerns, please call 999 in an emergency, or call 101 for non-emergency assistance.
Tips for having a good Halloween:
* Never go trick or treating alone or split up from your friends.
* Always check with your parents or carer first.
* Only go to houses where you or your friends know who lives there.
* Don’t talk to strangers on the street or go off with them
* Stay in well-lit areas.
* Ensure you can be seen by wearing reflective clothing and carry a torch.
* Take care when crossing roads - it may be hard to see so well in a costume.
* Although Halloween is about looking spooky, be careful not to frighten those who do not want to take part.
* Eggs and flour make a mess - most shops won’t sell them to under-16s over Halloween.