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Protect, respect and stay safe this Halloween and bonfire night

Last modified: 26 October 2020 at 07:12pm

Protect, respect and enjoy safely is the message from North Yorkshire Police as we approach Halloween and bonfire night this autumn. 

Protect, respect and enjoy safely is the message from North Yorkshire Police as we approach Halloween and bonfire night this autumn.

  • Protect your health, your loved ones and your communities and help to reduce the spread of Covid-19
  • Respect other people who can find this time of year distressing, particularly bonfire night and the days leading up to it
  • Enjoy the festivities safely by doing things differently this year

pumpkin lantern wearing surgical mask

Superintendent Mike Walker, who is leading North Yorkshire Police’s response to Covid-19, said: “Halloween and bonfire night will be different this year, with events cancelled and restrictions on who we can socialise with. But wherever you are and however you are affected by local restrictions,  it’s important that people can still have fun while staying safe. It’s also important to remember that some people don’t enjoy Halloween or bonfire night and what you might think is fun can have a negative effect on other people’s lives. So we ask everyone to respect their neighbours and local communities, particularly during these uncertain times.

“Antisocial behaviour remains a key priority for the police around this time of year and officers will be out and about to help keep our neighbourhoods as safe as possible. This year we have the additional Coronavirus Regulations to enforce if we have to. As always, we know the vast majority of people will stick to the rules as they have done already, and we will continue to engage, explain and encourage people to comply. But enforcement remains a distinct possibility for those who fail to follow the rules.

“We also echo the advice from our fire service colleagues and urge you to think twice about having a home firework display but if you are having one, think carefully, plan carefully and follow the Firework Code. Some people and animals are scared by firework noise so if you’re planning to let off fireworks please tell your neighbours, avoid buying really noisy ones and remember the laws around setting them off.

“Whatever you are planning, please follow the rules and stay safe.”

Richard Flinton, Chair of the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum (NYLRF), which brings together councils, emergency services and health organisations to tackle the pandemic, added: “We are keen to get the balance right between protecting people from the spread of the coronavirus and ensuring that they can still enjoy themselves.

“I thank everyone for the huge efforts being made across the county as we all work to stem the rise in cases of Covid-19. It’s vital that we do not let these efforts slip as we enter this season of celebrations.

“Hallowe’en is hugely popular with children and families and we want people to be able to enjoy it. That fun is important to our wellbeing. But we must celebrate safely, so this year that means celebrating differently.

“The rules that keep us safe from Covid-19 every day apply just as strongly on Halloween. Stick to the rule of six, or support bubble depending on where you live, and remember that school bubbles do not apply outside school. Maintain social distancing, wear a face covering in any busy place, inside or out, and wash your hands regularly. Remember to take hand sanitiser if you go out.”

To reduce the risk to children and others and to combat the rise in infections, NYLRF are recommending that people do not go knocking on doors on Halloween or collect sweets from communal bowls.

There are many alternatives that mean you can still enjoy a memorable evening, including:

  • Be creative: create a pumpkin trail where you live so everyone can join in without knocking on doors.
  • Be active: get dressed up and take a walk around your neighbourhood to see homes decorated for Halloween.
  • Be virtual: consider an online party with decorations, fancy dress and themed food. Play Halloween games, bake Halloween treats or tell spooky stories.
  • Be social: take pictures of your spooky costumes and activities to share on social media.
  • Be colourful: dress up the outside of your house with Halloween decorations for you and your neighbours to enjoy.
  • Be treat-wise: buy your own sweets to give to your children so they don’t miss out.
  • Be bright: if you carve a pumpkin, use a battery-powered light inside it to reduce the risk of fire.

a sparkler against a blue background lots of blurred lights

Follow these top tips from our colleagues at North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable bonfire night:

Professionally organised firework displays are much safer to attend. But this year due to COVID19 many have been cancelled. If you are thinking about organising a home display, think carefully, plan carefully and follow the Firework Code.

Whilst most people enjoy fireworks responsibly, in the wrong hands they can cause real misery. Remember that fireworks are explosives, and as such should be treated with respect and only used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and the Firework Code.

With many organised events cancelled, emergency services are preparing for a busier night than usual as people celebrate in their own gardens.

We’d urge you to think twice about having a home display but if you are having one, think carefully, plan carefully and follow the Firework Code.

  • Make sure you follow guidance on social distancing and restrictions on households mixing
  • Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable, and ensure it finishes before 11pm
  • Only buy fireworks which carry the CE mark, keep them in a closed box and use them one at a time
  • Read and follow the instructions on each firework using a torch if necessary
  • Light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back
  • Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks
  • Never return to a firework once it has been lit
  • Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them
  • Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators

If you’re having a bonfire:

  • Check for hedgehogs and other wildlife before lighting your bonfire.
  • Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire.
  • Don’t build bonfires close to trees, hedges or sheds.
  • Don’t leave bonfires unattended.
  • Make sure that the bonfire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving.

Remember that you must be over 18 to purchase fireworks and that it is illegal to set off or throw fireworks (including sparklers) in the street or other public places. You can be fined up to £5,000 and imprisoned for up to 6 months for selling or using fireworks illegally. You could also get an on-the-spot fine of £90.


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