Keep the fear out of fright night

As Halloween creeps closer, Suffolk Constabulary is reminding residents to stay safe this year, respect others and keep their tricks within the law.

Whilst Halloween is traditionally a night of fun, with dressing up costumes and trick-or-treating, please bear in mind there may be members of the public who do not wish to take part.

People knocking on the doors to residents they don’t know, particularly the vulnerable or older members of the community, can be both a distressing and intimidating experience.

To help householders and businesses in the run up to the day, two posters are available to download from the Suffolk Police website, indicating whether they would welcome trick-or-treaters or not. These can be downloaded by visiting https://www.suffolk.police.uk/news/latest-news/keep-fear-out-fright-night

Superintendent Matt Carney said: “We know that for many people Halloween is an exciting opportunity to go out and have fun and we don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun. We just want to ensure everyone stays safe and enjoys their evening.

“We ask that people respect other’s wishes and try not to disturb those who chose not to celebrate. Please also keep any ‘tricks’ appropriate. Halloween is not an excuse to commit antisocial activity and any deliberate behaviour that results in damage or hurts someone is a crime.

“If you are planning to go out trick or treating, please never go out alone, stay in well-lit areas, consider wearing bright clothing to stay safe against any traffic and do not go inside strangers’ houses.”

There will be increased patrols over the Halloween and Bonfire Night season, and officers are working with partner agencies and local businesses to ensure crime is prevented and that celebrations are safe and enjoyable for all. This year Suffolk Constabulary was rated as ‘Good’ at preventing crime after an inspection by His Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services.

Retailers across the county 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 is the following week.

It is illegal to sell fireworks to anyone under 18 and to sell fireworks that fly erratically including mini rockets and bangers.

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 those taking part to be sensible, keep 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. The Constabulary’s poster is a simple way of letting everyone know whether you welcome trick-or-treaters or not and I hope it helps signpost which household are happy to be involved.”

If you do have any concerns, please call 999 in an emergency, or call 101 for non-emergency assistance. Help us keep our communities safe by reporting any suspicious activity. Alternatively, please pass useful information about any incident via https://www.suffolk.police.uk/contact-us/report-something/report-crime.

Tips for having a spooktacular 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.