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Why Halloween can be stressful for older people

Halloween is supposed to be fun and spooky. But, as well as going all out on your outfit and letting your kids bounce around in excitement, it’s also worth considering how Halloween can affect older people. Noise in the street at night and strangers – particularly wearing scary masks – ringing on the doorbell can cause anxiety, especially if someone is already feeling vulnerable. Those with limited mobility might also feel nervous or intimated about what might happen if they don’t open the door to trick or treaters.

So how can you have fun on Halloween without causing stress to your elderly neighbours?

We’d recommend abiding by the pumpkin rule. Houses which have a lit pumpkin or decorations on their doorstep are happy to be visited, but having a pumpkin free doorway means your neighbour doesn’t want to be bothered. Similarly, houses with their lights of and curtains closed might be the same. If someone doesn’t answer the door, don’t ring again, but move on to another house with decorations.

If you have older relatives or friends who live by themselves, it could be a nice idea to check in with them and make sure they’re not too anxious about Halloween.

Advice for older people on their own this Halloween

If you don’t feel safe opening the door, that’s completely fine. We understand people can feel embarrassed about refusing to open the door, but it’s more important to take care of yourself.

Avon and Somerset police have made some posters which you could stick to your front door if you’d prefer not to have trick or treaters visiting you. You can download them here.

Happy Halloween! 🙂


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