Emergency services offer advice to stay safe this Halloween

pumpkinDORSET Police are asking members of the community to respect the ‘Rule of Six’ both indoors and outdoors this Halloween.

To help protect emergency services and save lives, Dorset Police is asking parents, carers and Halloween fans to consider many fun alternatives to trick or treating, parties or large gathering this year. There are plenty of ways to enjoy Halloween, from spooky window dressings to ghostly film nights.

Inspector Matt Baxter from Dorset Police said: “This year we are asking everyone, whatever they are doing for Halloween, to take extra care in this Tier One area. We all need to follow the Rule of Six, wear a face covering when appropriate, wash hands regularly and make space. We might all want to consider alternative ways to enjoy Halloween this year.

“We are encouraging young people to create online parties where they can invite as many people as they like. We also recommend those that are vulnerable and do not want uninvited guests to the door download our ‘Sorry, No Trick or Treat’ poster to display in the front door or window of their homes.

“There will be additional patrols across the county, and we ask everyone to respect each other, especially neighbours and the vulnerable who might be shielding.”

Some alternatives to trick or treating for families and young children include:

  • Organise a Halloween themed scavenger hunt around your house or garden.
  • Arrange a virtual fancy dress party online and invite your friends and family.
  • Out-boo your neighbours and have a window decorating competition.
  • Get creative in the kitchen. Go online to find the recipes for spooky snacks.
  • Decorate your living room and create your own scary cinema.
  • Play Halloween inspired games with your friends and family. Try Dorset Council’s colouring craft activity

Five eerie ideas for older children and adults:

  • Virtual fancy dress party – arrange a party online and invite your friends and family, nominate a DJ to put together some terrifying tunes or put together a Halloween play list and see who has the scariest moves.
  • Out-boo your neighbours with a wicked window decorating competition – invite your neighbours, friends or family to see who can create the spookiest window.
  • Virtual horror quiz – ask everyone to write ten questions each and read out in their spookiest voice, turn off the lights and use a torch to set the scene. Throw in a music round of guess the horror movie theme tune – extra points for the best fancy dress!
  • Create your own scary cinema – decorate your living room, dig out some truly terrifying classics and enjoy a scary movie marathon.
  • Make some spooky snacks – how about hot dog ‘fingers’ with tomato sauce, or creepy cakes with sweets such as ‘eyes’, ‘worms’ and ‘teeth’ for decorations.

In Lyme Regis, more than 40 businesses have signed up to a safe pumpkin trail that children and families can enjoy.

Fire risks remain the same

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is also warning people to not let Halloween become scary for all the wrong reasons.

Whilst this year’s Halloween celebrations will look a little different due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the fire risks remain the same.

Every year on October 31, children and adults are injured in accidents where candles or fireworks have set fire to costumes and hair. Plastic capes and bin liners, often used as costumes, are also fire risks.

Children’s fancy dress costumes are often classified as toys and are therefore not required to be fire proofed or fire retardant. This makes children especially vulnerable in circumstances where they are playing without adult supervision.

RoSPA have been working with the British Retail Consortium and its members to develop a testing standard for the flammability of children’s dress-up costumes which goes beyond the legal level.

Prevention Delivery manager Ian Hopkins said: “Toy dress-up clothing can burn rapidly when it comes into contact with an open flame, such as a candle or open fire. This can cause serious injury, burns, and potentially death.

“We don’t want to stop people enjoying Halloween, but we want to help them celebrate safely. There is nothing more terrifying than having a fire at home or seeing your clothes catch fire.”

The following top tips will help you reduce your fire risk this Halloween:

  • Check that all Halloween and fancy-dress costumes you buy carry a CE mark on the label
  • As with all clothing, Halloween and fancy-dress outfits should always be kept away from fire, lit candles and all other naked flames
  • Always supervise children and pets if using lit candles
  • Do not allow children to carry, play, reach over, light or be near lit candles
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended
  • Remember always to extinguish a candle completely after use
  • Ensure children can be seen in the dark; ideally they should wear something reflective such as a reflective strip and carry a torch.
  • Teach your child to STOP, DROP and ROLL in the event that their clothing does catch fire.
  • In an emergency, cool any burns with large amounts of water and get urgent medical assistance.
  • If you must use candles, make sure they are securely placed in a correct holder and in a place where they are not likely to be knocked over. Keep them away from curtains, cushions, and draughts.
  • If you are using decorative lights in your home, ensure that electricity sockets are not overloaded and that they’re switched off at the socket at night

Remember to look out in your local area to see if there is a Dorset an Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service Halloween Trail. Aimed at younger children, the trail encourages children to hunt for the safety messages with their parents or carers.

For more information, visit www.dwfire.org.uk/education/pumpkins-bonfires-and-fireworks/

Woodmead Halls
About Francesca Evans 2648 Articles
Francesca grew up in Lyme Regis and has worked in community journalism in the area since 2011, having gained a First Class Honours degree in journalism and her NCTJ qualifications at Southampton Solent University.

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