How to enjoy Halloween without risking your home security.
For most, Halloween is a fun occasion where children get dressed up and enjoy going out trick or treating but it’s not without some risk for homeowners. This time of year, after the clocks go back, always sees an increase in burglaries (the peak is bonfire night on 5th November). Halloween can make you particularly vulnerable because of the nature of trick or treating and opening the door to multiple people, most of whom will be in fancy dress.
Perfect cover for a distraction burglary
This is a risk because it provides the perfect cover for a ‘distraction burglary’; a burglary that takes place when the homeowner is distracted by something or someone, allowing another to sneak in via another access point.
Would-be intruders could potentially work in pairs – one knocking at the front while the other sneaks in at the back while you are occupied. While it would raise suspicion for an adult to be trick or treating alone, remember that young adults could be up to no good or they might equally have some children with them as part of the scam. A more likely scenario would be for a burglar to wait for unwitting, genuine trick or treaters to call at the front while they sneak in at the back. They could even follow a large group around, knowing that you would be occupied for a while with them.
Obviously, what you need to do is ensure that all other access points to the house are locked and secure so that if you are answering the front door, there is no easy way to get in. It might also be a good idea to lock or block gates into the garden as well.
Here are a few other tips to help you stay secure and safe this Halloween:
- Have your sweets and treats ready by the door so you’re not opening it and them having to go further into the house to get them, leaving the door open
- If you are worried about who might be knocking, use a chain so you can see them before you open the door fully
- If you are not comfortable opening the door, or just don’t want to be up and down answering it but do want to join in the spirit of it you could leave a bowl of sweets out with a notice inviting people to help themselves
- Usually people are very respectful of their neighbours and won’t knock unless they know people are receptive. If you’re happy for people to come then display something Halloween themed outside or leave an outside light turned on
- If you don’t want people knocking at all, as is your right, you can display this poster from West Yorkshire Police and people should miss your house out
- For safety reasons, if you do put a pumpkin out with a naked flame inside place it at a safe distance from the front door area where people are unlikely to get close to. Fancy dress costumes are notoriously flammable as this report A safer alternative could be battery operated fairy lights placed inside a pumpkin instead
- If you are trick or treating yourself then make sure children are properly supervised and don’t go near to any candles/pumpkins, only go to houses that look like they are open to being called on and keep noise levels down near houses that don’t want to be disturbed. Remember that some people may be older or have some disability so don’t want to be answering the door all night
Halloween should be a fun night for children and if you follow the advice above it shouldn’t be too scary for anyone!