Is trick or treating legal and how can you stop children knocking on your door this Halloween?

TRICK or treaters are dusting off their scary costumes for a night of Halloween fun.

But what are the rules about knocking on people's doors and which homes should be avoided?

Is trick or treating legal?

Yes, trick or treating in the UK is legal.

However, police have the power to deal with anyone who engages in antisocial behaviour.

This could include harassment, vandalism or disorder.

If a child is under 16, their parents are liable to pay any fines they incur.

Last year there were question marks about the legality of the tradition due to Covid lockdowns, however it was never outlawed.

And with fewer restrictions in place in 2021, kids can enjoy the game as normal.

Is there a minimum age for trick or treating?

There is no minimum age for trick or treating, but parents should accompany young children at all times.

Some towns in America, however, cap the age for trick or treating at 12.

While the UK doesn't have an age limit, most children who take part in the tradition are of primary school age – between about four and 11.

What are the dos and don'ts of trick or treating?

  • Safety is paramount, and children are advised to stick to places that are well lit in neighbourhoods that they know.
  • Trick or treaters should only go to the homes of people they know and are happy for them to call.
  • Do carry a torch and make sure your mobile phone (if you have one) is fully charged.
  • Look out for "no callers please" posters and respect your neighbours.
  • Wait until you get home to eat treats so that an adult can check them.
  • Don't allow children to leave the house with eggs or flour.
  • If you are wearing a mask, make sure you can see where you're going – and watch out for traffic.
  • Avoid leaving wheelie bins or anything that could be used for an illegal bonfire outside your home.
  • If a pumpkin is displayed on a doorstep, trick or treaters are welcome to knock.

How can you stop children knocking at your door this Halloween?

While you may not be able to completely stop little ghosts and ghouls paying you a visit, there are measures you can take to deter them from knocking.

One easy trick is to simply pretend you're not home by closing the curtains and turning off the lights.

An obvious solution is to post a "no callers please" notice on your front door.

And simply not displaying a pumpkin or any Halloween decorations is another good option.

Many police forces hand out posters to householders telling kids not to trick or treat at their home.

Devon and Cornwall police said the signs can be used by those who find trick or treat a frightening experience.

Bob Bunney from Devon and Cornwall Police Prevention Department told the Falmouth Packet: “In recent years we’ve seen an increase in the number of people participating in Halloween fun,”

“We say to anyone who’s going trick-or-treating to think about other people, particularly the elderly and vulnerable, as they may get worried or even frightened if strangers are continually calling at their door during the evening.

“We don’t want to discourage anyone or spoil anyone’s fun, but we ask people not to call at homes displaying the ‘Sorry, no trick or treat’ poster and not to be persistent if your requests are declined.”

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