People are urged to be respectful and responsible as they celebrate Halloween this weekend.

While many children and families will be looking forward to trick or treating on October 31, the occasion can cause concern for some elderly residents or people who live on their own.

To support those and minimise the risk of distress, Sussex Police has made available a poster for people to display in their windows if they do not want visitors this Halloween.

Chief Inspector Jonathan Carter said: “We acknowledge that while Halloween is a fun and popular time for many young people in Sussex, it can be a night of contrasting emotions for some of our more elderly or vulnerable residents.

“We ask people heading out for Halloween to be responsible and to have respect for others – do not knock on houses which are displaying the ‘No Trick or Treaters’ poster or which may be home to vulnerable residents.

“Our officers will be out patrolling our communities, engaging with people and keeping an eye out to identify and deter any anti-social or irresponsible behaviour.

“If you experience or witness any criminal or suspicious behaviour, please do get in touch with us online or by calling 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.”

Tips for a safer Halloween:

  • Young children should be accompanied by an adult.
  • Stay in well-lit areas.
  • Consider calling only at houses where you know the occupants, rather than strangers.
  • Respect the privacy and wishes of people who do not want to take part in trick or treat – observe the ‘No Trick or Treaters please’ posters people may display in doors or windows.

For residents

Residents are advised to continue to be vigilant when opening the door to strangers or unexpected callers.

One way to deter unwanted trick or treaters on October 31 is to print and display the ‘No Trick or Treaters’ poster.

If you feel unsafe

  • Don’t open your door if you’re unsure who is there. Use your spyhole, 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, just in case you need to phone them.
  • If you are part of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, let your coordinator know that 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.
  • If you are driving on the evening of October 31, remember that excited children may be crossing the road unexpectedly, so slow down in residential areas and take extra care.

There will be increased patrols this Halloween to deter any anti-social behaviour; officers will be quick to disperse groups of people who are found to be causing a nuisance.

Sussex Police will not tolerate any anti-social behaviour at any time of the year.

To report anti-social behaviour please report online here.

If you feel threatened, in an emergency, or if a crime is in progress, call 999.