Survey: Call to call a halt on Hallowe’en high jinks

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In light of recent riots in cities across England, four in five adults would support the introduction of one of a range of unprecedented measures over the Halloween period, according to new research.

The findings reveal that 43 per cent of people would support a ban on people wearing masks that obscure the face over Halloween, and one in three (31 per cent) would support a ban on people wearing hooded tops.

Some 38 per cent of adults would support the introduction of curfews for groups of youths, and one in five (22 per cent) would ban trick or treating altogether this year. Half of adults (50 per cent) would introduce mandatory parental accompaniment during trick or treating.

The support for these measures is driven not only by people’s experiences of the riots, but also past experience of being victims in the Halloween to Bonfire Night period, dubbed ‘mischief week’.

The Santander Insurance findings show that one in four adults (24 per cent) has previously suffered damage to their home during this period, facing an average of over £232 in repair fees or a collective £2.65 billion.

One in eight adults (12 per cent) has suffered damage from eggs being thrown at or in their home and 6 per cent have had garden plants, ornaments or fences damaged. Over 1.6 million people, around three per cent of adults, have been victims of theft either inside or outside the home during this period, and two per cent of Britons, over 1.1 million people, have had windows broken.

Over 1.4 million people (3 per cent) have had their property damaged by sparklers or stray fireworks, and 1.1 million (2 per cent) have suffered damage from items such as firecrackers or silly string being put through their letterbox.

Andy Smith of Santander commented: “The summer’s riots resulted in a huge amount of innocent people becoming victims of crime.

“Our research would suggest that there is genuine concern about any more criminal damage or anti-social behaviour taking place in the period that surrounds Halloween and bonfire night – a period which many people already find intimidating.

“Many people suffer from property and possessions being damaged at this time of year, and others have fallen victim to theft, burglaries or attacks from people using fireworks as weapons.

“We would advise all homeowners to make sure that the main entrances to their homes are secure, and to make the property look occupied, even if it isn’t. For peace of mind in case any damage is caused, we would also urge people to keep their property and possessions protected with comprehensive home insurance.”