Whether you’re trick-or-treating with the children, attending a bonfire or staying firmly indoors, your home, family and business are all exposed to some seriously scary risks during Halloween. Some local police services report antisocial crime rates increasing by over 50% at this time of year, with criminal damage arrests doubling at Halloween.

While spooky ghouls and creepy ghosts scare youngsters, adults should watch out for these 5 dangers to stay safe this October…

  • Flammable costumes

Children’s fancy dress costumes are treated as toys under current safety standards. During testing, outfits are set alight in controlled conditions. The flame must not spread faster than 3cm per second. Anything with a burning rate between 1cm and 3cm per second must carry a label saying: ‘Warning! Keep away from fire.’ Those that pass can carry a CE safety marking, although there is growing concern that these can be easily faked.  Try to find costumes from reputable sources which have passed fire safety testing, or make your own outfits from natural fibres. Always keep children away from naked flames.

  • Watch out for children

Bear in mind that children will be out and about at night, trick-or-treating. Drive slowly and carefully, especially in residential areas, and be aware that children are likely to dart into the road or to act unpredictably. If you are chaperoning a group around town, decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers, and have children carry torches or glow-sticks for extra visibility.

  • Fireworks at home

You may be celebrating with some sparklers or fireworks at home. Never keep fireworks in the house. Instead store in a secure garage or garden. Do not light fireworks inside the home, and never attach them to sheds or outbuildings. While fire is a standard home insurance risk, your policy wording will tell you whether your garden and its contents would be covered if they were damaged by rogue fireworks.

  • Anti-social behaviour

Increasingly associated with the Halloween and Bonfire Night period, many communities increase a rise in vandalism, property damage and anti-social behaviours. Ensure your home or business premises are made secure, locking doors and windows. Stay vigilant to dangerous behaviour, reporting suspicious activity to the police.

  • Opportunist thieves

Using the cover of darkness, the noise of fireworks and the high chance you’ll be out at a party to commit crime, burglaries can spike without adequate protection and forward planning. Deter opportunist thieves from your business by closely following close-down procedures, storing combustible materials safely away from buildings and clearing away outside rubbish. At home, make it look like someone is home even when you aren’t by leaving lights and a radio on. Security lights and audible alarms can also deter thieves.

If the worst should happen, you may need to call on your home or business insurance. Check your policy wording beforehand to make sure you’ve complied with all of the terms and conditions.