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Oct 13, 2009

Avoid Damage from Halloween Tricksters

If Halloween has you quaking in your boots, worried about the potential for pranks to despoil your garden and cause havoc with your house, there are some basic practices to keep in mind.

Keep in mind that the younger crowd tends to be the less rowdy group. The younger children are usually trick and treating around nightfall to 8.00 pm. After this time, the teenagers are usually out and about, along with any revelers who decide to join in the antics. This provides you with a window of opportunity to target your "openness" to the street during the times when the younger children are about. Consider turning off your house lights and decorative lights after 8.00 pm. This will discourage revelers from coming to your house, and hopefully from not even noticing it as they stroll around. Add a sign to let any latecomers know that you've finished up for the night, such as: "All treats gone; all tricks have been played." or "The witches have gone to bed, please call again next year." Remove decorations from the front yard. If you're really concerned, it may be wise to remove all decorations from the front yard that might indicate your participation in Halloween. It's not foolproof, as any house might be targeted, but a non-decorated house is a less interesting, and therefore obvious, target. Alternately, if you wish to keep your house open, be sure to have plenty of goodies on hand for the revelers who come later. Be aware that teens have higher expectations of the "treats", so be prepared with some good items, or you may just end up with less than courteous tricks. Be at home. Being around is a simple deterrent to damage being caused by franking; keep vigilant and interrupt any suspicious activity immediately. Have numerous adults on hand, milling about obviously. A front yard BBQ dominated by adults would definitely scare away pranksters but is only going to work where it is warmer and where a front yard BBQ is a reasonable option. Another possible way is to have numerous adults appear at the door every time the doorbell is rung, as a show of force. In addition, have the adults in the front room where it is obvious that a lot of people are present from the street. The presence of numerous adults will warn off potential pranksters.

Display alarm protection notices prominently. If you are concerned that franking might harm any aspect of your property, place a large alarm notice on or near it. Be friendly and nice. Ultimately, people will tend to prank those they consider didn't treat them very nicely. If you enter the spirit of Halloween with thought and care, you will be remembered as people who did the right thing by the trick and treater's. On the other hand, if you yell at kids and chase them away, you will probably reap what you sow. If you don't like Halloween, just don't participate. Keep your house dark, add no decorations but make it obvious that people are home by moving around and having internal lights on. There is no need to make cranky statements; just get on with your life.