Posted: Friday 21st October 2016
Hallowe’en, Bonfire Night and the dark nights of late autumn are fast upon us again, heralding exciting times for some if not for those who’d rather batten down the hatches.
For children, the whole point of Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night is to be outside wearing fantastically scary costumes and, less than a week later, watching the black skies light up with the spectacle of fabulous non-stop fireworks.
Sounds wonderful. And it can be. But (and sadly, there’s so often a ‘but’), these time-old festivities come hand-in-hand with the need to ensure that our youngsters and vulnerable people remain safe from harm.
Thankfully, the vast majority of parents are very much aware of their responsibilities on these occasions. Hallowe’en and ‘trick and treating’ – increasingly popular fixtures on our calendars – now see growing numbers of little ones with older siblings or parents in tow in search of harmless pleasure in their neighbourhoods.
Responsible supervision is vital so that excitable children don’t dash across a road without looking, or stray from well-lit areas. It’s also very important to ensure that elderly or vulnerable relatives and neighbours are not alarmed by small visitors in fancy dress and masks arriving on their doorsteps – or by disruptive behaviour from older, unattended children and teenagers. Where a home bears a sign asking for no ‘trick and treaters’ that wish for privacy must be respected.
Great care is, of course, also needed on Bonfire Night to ensure that no harm befalls those taking part. The most sensible way to keep safe is to attend one of the many organised, community bonfires and firework displays staged throughout Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. Being part of a crowd not only revs up the excitement but the skies radiate with the glow of more impressive fireworks than you could hope to achieve by having your own not-so-safe celebration in your back yard.
However, whether it’s Hallowe’en or Bonfire Night, these events share the same potential hazard as every other winter evening – and that is darkness. Always remember – fifth of November or not – that darkness is one of a thief’s best friends.
After an evening of fun and laughter, we can do without finding that pickpockets, car thieves or burglars have been at work while we’ve been having a good time. So always make sure that you lock all your windows and doors before you leave home, put your gardening tools in a secure place and leave lights on and a radio on to make it look as if you’re in.
Remember…keeping safe doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s more about doing what’s sensible, and being responsible.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire