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NHSM16 – Week 5: Spooky Season

Why trick or treaters are not the scariest characters at Halloween

If you read last week’s NHSM16 blog, Dark Nights, you will know that burglaries spike by a massive 20% when the clocks go back and you’re more likely to be burgled on Bonfire Night than any other night of the year.

While last week’s blog dealt with the issue of dark nights, we’re looking specifically at Halloween in this final week of National Home Security Month. With Halloween comes trick or treating and this can offer burglars a great cover for approaching properties without raising suspicion. There is also the risk of damage to property from the less responsible ‘tricksters’ and those participating in mischief night at this time of year.

Here’s how to protect your home and some tips for responsible trick or treating as well.

For those happy to ‘be trick or treated’

Halloween can be a bit of fun, even if you don’t have young children. You can join in by having some treats in for the children and they will really appreciate it if you make a little by of effort with some decorations or good supplies of sweets – maybe reward the ones with the best costumes with the best goodies?!

  • Indicate that you are participating by displaying something outside your home or in the window such as Halloween decorations or a carved pumpkin – this helps trick or treaters know which houses to knock at
  • Be prepared! Have your sweets and goodies ready by the door so that you’re never leaving people at your open door while you go get them
  • Always make sure any other doors and windows are closed and locked as burglars could easily sneak in while you are distracted at the front door
  • If you do run out of sweets or just don’t want to be disturbed as it gets later, remove your decorations and maybe display the West Yorkshire Police poster (see below) so genuine callers know not to come and would-be intruders have no excuse to approach your home

For those who would rather not ‘be trick or treated’

Not everyone wants to join in. If you live on your own, have mobility problems or just don’t fancy getting up to the door every 5 minutes then you absolutely have the right to opt out. Here’s how to do it with good grace (and hopefully without getting your windows egged!):

  • Make it clear that you don’t want people knocking by displaying something such as this poster from West Yorkshire Police in the window. The vast majority of people trick or treating will respect this and they won’t want to call if there’s no prospect of a treat!
  • Don’t do the obvious thing and just turn the lights out in the hope people will think you’re out. If burglars think that you’re out they may well target your home. Likewise, ‘eggers’ may think it’s an easy target!
  • If you are genuinely out of the house, still leave some lights on but display the poster. That way it will look like you’re in to the burglars but the trick or treaters won’t try to knock
  • If you don’t want to be coming to the door but you’re happy to give out sweets, why not leave a bowl outside with a sign saying ‘help yourself but when it’s gone, it’s gone’


No trick or treat poster West Yorkshire Police

For those trick or treating

Trick or treating is great fun for kids and Halloween is a really big deal these days but you just need to be courteous and respectful of people’s wishes. Here are a few rules to stick to that should keep the evening fun for all involved:

  • Only approach homes that indicate that they are participating. Look out for decorations that show they’re happy to be disturbed. If there are no lights on or they are displaying something like the ‘no trick or treat’ poster mentioned above then respect their wishes and pass it by
  • Try not to go out too late. It gets dark around 5.30pm so there’s no need to be still out at 8 or 9pm. Even those with the most generous of spirits won’t be keen on still answering the door at that time of night
  • Look out for anyone acting suspiciously while you’re out and about. Burglars will often use Halloween as a cover to nosy around houses so be vigilant and if you see something that doesn’t seem right, report it

Halloween should be a fun evening for everyone so following these tips will help it remain that way. Don’t give a burglar the opportunity to make it a fun evening for them (and a terrible one for you).

This blog has been written as part of NHSM16 and is the final themed blog of the campaign. You can see previous posts on burglar statistics, protecting the entry points to your home, smart home security and protecting your home now the clocks have gone back and catch up with all content linked to the National Home Security Month campaign here.