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How to keep safe at home during Halloween and Bonfire Night

Top tips for those who live alone and/or would prefer not to be visited by trick-or-treaters. Dressing up to gather treats in local neighbourhoods and enjoying firework displays and bonfires can be fun for many, however this isn’t always the case for the elderly or people who are more vulnerable than most.

We love to have fun too, but safety and welfare are our main priorities. So we have put together a bit of background about these popular traditions and guidance to help you keep safe.

Halloween originated 2,000 years ago as an ancient Gaelic celebration of Samhain on 31st October to mark the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. Irish and Scottish communities who immigrated to America in the early 20th century were the initiators of trick or treating traditions which have been widely adopted throughout the world. Nowadays, there are all sorts of spooky attractions and events throughout the UK from zombie walks in Brighton, tunnel ghost hunts in Kidderminster, to haunted parties at Chessington World of Adventures. If you’d like to see what’s on near you, visit skiddle.com and for more historical facts about Halloween and Trick-or-Treating watch this fun video.

This year, the 31st October falls on a Saturday night so undoubtedly there will be a lot more people out and about Trick-or-Treating. Depending on an individual’s situation, Halloween can mean an increase in safety and security concerns so here are our top tips for those who live alone and/or would prefer not to be visited by trick-or-treaters:

Halloween
  1. Put a sign on your door and inside your window that states clearly whether trick-or-treaters are welcome. If you run out of sweets and goodies to give to visitors, put a sign on your door that says “Sorry, no more treats”. Local councils and police groups offer free posters and advice, for example: Hampshire ConstabularyHorsham District Community Safety PartnershipSussex Police and Wiltshire Police.
  2. Avoid window decorations that block light or your view. Always look through your spy hole and/or window before opening your front door to strangers and keep your chain on if you have one. You are not obliged to open your door if you don’t feel safe. 
  3. Keep your front door area and hallway well lit, and if you wish to use candle light please use flameless LED tea lights and candles as they’re much safer and don’t present the same fire risk.
  4. Keep your front door area clear to avoid anyone tripping or hurting themselves.

Here are some tips for those who have elderly and/vulnerable family members and friends:

  1. Enjoy Halloween as a group by asking family members, elderly friends and  neighbours whether they want to participate in celebrations from your home or at a community event by helping to decorate, maybe dress up and hand out treats. Not everyone will want to join in, so perhaps they would like to have their own quiet gathering to keep each other company.
  2. Please don’t leave people with dementia alone at home on Halloween, instead help them to open the door or keep them company, distracted from noises outside with a good film and tasty dietary-considerate food.
  3. If you have to go anywhere by car, please drive slowly in neighbourhood streets and watch out for people in the road whose costumes may be hard to see in the dark.

Throughout autumn, bonfires and firework displays are being held at schools, in parks and at venues across the UK to commemorate Guy Fawkes, Britain’s most notorious traitor. In 1605, Guy was part of a group of thirteen men who were led by Robert Catesby to blow up the Houses of Parliament and overthrow the king. But, the Gunpowder Plot was foiled and Guy was captured in the cellar under the House of Lords with 36 barrels of gunpowder in the early hours of November 5th. On the very same night, bonfires were set alight to celebrate the safety of the King which is why the date is called Bonfire Night. For more historic detail click here.

To date, the biggest bonfire night celebrations and parades are hosted by eight bonfire societies in Lewes, East Sussex where hundreds of thousands of people flock to enjoy the spectacular and very loud displays. In light of the ever growing popularity of fireworks, bonfires and sparklers community safety partnerships have been setup throughout the UK, such as the multi-agency Bright Sparx Campaign run by West Lancashire Borough Council, Operation Good Guy run by Staffordshire County Council and Bonfire Night Safety by The Fire Fighters Charity.

Here are a few of our own tips to help you keep safe at bonfires and firework displays:

  1. Please only attend professionally organised bonfire events as these must adhere to strict fire safety regulations and will have guided paths and safe firework viewing areas laid out.
  2. For personal health reasons it may be better to enjoy fireworks displays from inside if you suffer from any heart conditions or respiratory problems such as asthma or bronchitis.
  3. If you agree to attend a fire work display, you may wish to take ear defenders for noise sensitive, elderly friends and young children, so they can enjoy the fireworks without being frightened by the loud bangs.

Regardless of whether you are able to participate in Halloween or visit firework displays and bonfires, wrap up warm and please don’t suffer in silence. In case you feel unsafe or unsure about what is happening, phone someone who is nearby to you (a relative, friend or a helpful neighbour). If at any point you feel threatened, please contact the police on 101 or 999 only in an emergency. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech impairment, police text phone is available on 18001 101.

We offer a vast range of personal safety and healthcare solutions for individuals who prefer to live in the comfort and warmth of their own home including door security systems, keysafes, pendants, sensors, alarms and much more. For further information, please call our friendly team in Eastbourne on 01323 644422 or email us.

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