Halloween is fast approaching and youngsters all over the country will be out and about after dark – with or without their parents – trick-or-treating.
This tradition can be a lot of fun, as well as a good way of fostering community spirit, especially when young children are involved with their mums and dads. But not everyone looks forward to a succession of knocks on the door on the evening of the 31st – so what steps can you take to keep unwanted visitors to a minimum?
Create the right impression
If you have Halloween decorations in your window or outside your home – for example a carved pumpkin on your porch – this can often be taken as a sign that you welcome trick-or-treaters. If you don’t want visitors, it’s a good idea not to put them on display.
Equally, you could put up a sign in a front window, your porch or your front door saying that you do not wish to answer the door to trick-or-treaters.
If you are visited, keep your door chain on when opening up.
Read our tips for dealing with bogus callers.
Turn your lights out
If you have a porch or other outside light, keeping it switched off for much of the evening of the 31st might also be a good idea – but don’t forget to turn any lights back on once Halloween is over.
If you're really concerned about unwanted knocks, you could consider turning all lights off in the front of your house, as well as keeping to the rooms that do not look out onto the street so that your home appears empty.
Alternatively, you could simply head out for the evening for a meal or to the cinema.
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Report any problems
If you feel you're being harassed or intimidated in any way, or if you think a prank has gone too far, let your local police force know. The national non-emergency number is 101 – you should only call 999 in an emergency, if a crime is in progress or if you feel you are in serious danger.
Of course, excessively loud or antisocial behaviour cannot be justified simply by the fact it is Halloween, but it is inevitable that in some areas young people might behave a little more boisterously.