Halloween is a night of innocent fun for many youngsters, but for elderly or vulnerable residents, it can be distressing and frightening.
To help make the 31 October trick or treat celebration enjoyable for everyone, Thames Valley Police is working with Chiltern District Council and South Bucks District Council's Joint Community Safety Team to encourage residents to display posters in their front windows to indicate whether or not they welcome Halloween callers.
The posters show either a smiley Halloween image to indicate trick or treaters are welcome, or a sad face to indicate callers should not knock on that door.
Posters can be picked up free of charge from Chiltern District Council Offices, King George V Road in Amersham, HP6 5AW or South Bucks District Council Offices, Capswood, Oxford Road in Denham, UB9 4LH, or you can download one from the downloads section below.
Residents without access to a printer can request posters by calling 01494 586535.
People planning to go trick or treating are asked to look out for the posters and be considerate of others. Tricks like throwing eggs, graffiti, or other vandalism will be treated as criminal damage and the police will prosecute anyone found breaking the law.
Trick or treating has become a tradition which many householders are only too happy to be part of. For some, however, it can be a truly upsetting and very frightening time. These simple posters give a clear message as to whether the resident is prepared to join in the Halloween fun or not.
Extra police will be on duty during the Halloween period to ensure that inappropriate behaviour is challenged and resolved. Anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated at any time of year. Anyone affected by the few individuals who use trick or treating as an excuse to commit antisocial behaviour can report it to Thames Valley Police on 101. In an emergency, or if a crime is in progress, call 999.
If you are concerned about Halloween, the advice is:
· Don't open your door if you're unsure who is there. Use your spy-hole or look out of a window, and use your door chain if you do decide to open your door.
· Have a contact number of a close relative or good neighbour to hand by your telephone in case you need to phone them.
· If you are part of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, let your coordinator know you will be on your own at Halloween. If you are a coordinator, please identity people in your scheme that may be vulnerable and offer them reassurance.