Halloween is fast approaching and, while the country been gripped by the 'Creepy Clown' craze (pranksters dress as "creepy clowns" to deliberately scare people), one local authority is taking steps to protect its elderly and vulnerable and deliver a road safety message at the same time.
But we have to think about road safety on Halloween and respecting the elderly and vulnerable when out on our travels? Both pedestrians and drivers need to be hyper-vigilant on Halloween - there's a big influx of small, excited pedestrians on residential streets and roads, and more distractions inside the vehicle.
With the teenage trick-or-treat goers eggs and flour might sound like inoffensive household items, but shopowners are been asked to consider the limiting the sale of them to youngsters before and over Halloween.
Every year the Gardai are inundated with complaints over anti-social behaviour on Halloween, with a favourite trick being pelting homes with eggs or flour and also pedestrians dress in all dark clothing making them very difficult to see by other road users.
Sgt Gerry McNally's Westport Garda Station Said "While we do not want to be accused of stopping people enjoying themselves, we would also ask those same people to think of the impact of their behaviour on others and themselves.
"Their actions can cause fear and anxiety to other people. This could be perceived to be intimidating and threatening which could lead to public order offences, arrest and a criminal record."
The road safety office, supported by tidy town committees,are launching a campaign to highlight road safety and at the same time are taking steps to curb an expected surge in anti-social behaviour over the Halloween period, fearing a small number of youths will take to the street to devastate rural communities with pranks. Posters are being made available to download to put in front windows and behind shop counters to make it known that spooky-happenings are unwelcome and will be promoted on social media also.
Eithne Larkin Westport Tidy towns committee said "We welcome and endorse any initiative that retains the beauty of our town and highlights the importance of road safety and not causing distress to any members of our community particularly over the Halloween period."
Noel Gibbons Road safety Officer said "Posters can be put up in front room windows or doors by the elderly and vulnerable , showing passers-by that that homeowner does not wish to be visited. Other posters are been made available to shopkeepers which tell customers that eggs and flour are not for making a mess and distress. Now the intention behind this is beyond question. No one wants the elderly or vulnerable pelted with eggs or having flour poured on their doorstep. Unplanned visitors, fireworks and bonfires can cause fear and anxiety for the elderly, "This campaign is taking place because, over the past few years we have experienced problems in the lead up to Halloween with youths throwing eggs and flour at residents' houses (particularly those elderly and vulnerable), under the guise of 'trick or treat'. "At this time of year, lots of people like to dress up for Halloween but over the past few weeks we have seen news reports from across the world where people are dressing up as "killer clowns" to intimidate and scare people, causing distress to people within our communities, particularly the young and the elderly, is completely unacceptable.
Safety advice for Halloween:
- Eggs and flour are for baking. Don't throw them.
Don't go trick or treating alone - stay with your group.
- If you're going trick or treating, make sure you go with an adult and your parent or carer knows where you're going and when to expect you back.
- Make sure your visible to other road users
Respect posters asking you not to trick or treat at someone's house.