29th October 2019
Love it or hate it, the popularity of Halloween continues to grow in the UK year on year. Halloween spending is expected to reach a record £387m this year, according to new research by retail marketing agency Savvy. This is a 6% increase on last year’s consumer spending with 45% of shoppers planning to buy Halloween goods.
Just for fun, here is a quick ‘legal lowdown’ on all things Halloween…
Trick or Treating
Despite various articles you might read around this time of year, Trick or Treating is not illegal in the UK. There is no minimum age for children to be out asking for sweeties from their neighbours either, although younger children should be accompanied by a responsible adult for their own safety.
To respect neighbours it is best to make sure all Trick or Treating is done with by early evening as knocking on doors late at night could make vulnerable or elderly people feel frightened.
If you have children going out to enjoy Halloween, ensure they are careful when crossing roads and act responsibly. It is usually a good idea to only knock at houses of people you know or houses that have a pumpkin or other Halloween decorations on display.
Trick or Treating is usually fairly benign, but if a householder feels intimidated by the behaviour of older Halloween pranksters, or if that spooky party next door is going on into the small hours, then the police do have the authority to deal with it as they would with any other kind of anti-social behaviour. Remember that not everyone gets into the spirit of Halloween, and if a householder refuses to open the door or asks Trick or Treaters to leave their property, they have that right.
If your property is damaged as a result of a ‘trick’ then you may be able to make a claim for damages against the individual or, if they’re a minor, their parents. If the damage is considerable, or you fear that things are getting out of hand then our advice is always to call the Police and let them handle it.
Scary Films & Games
If you’re holding a Halloween party, a few scary films really get everyone in the spooky mood. However, if you’re hosting a party for young ‘Halloweeners’, then you may need to dial the frights back a touch, unless you want to deal with traumatised kids and their (understandably) irate parents. It isn’t illegal for under-18s to watch 18 category films in the privacy of your own home; however it is advisable to seek permission from the parents of children visiting your house beforehand. You do not want to find yourself having a fall-out or civil matter brought against you!
Faulty Fangs or Poor Quality Pumpkins
Most of the Halloween merchandising on sale is pretty poor quality. It’s cheap, it’s cheerful, and it’s generally only fit to be used once then thrown away. However, if you buy any Halloween merchandise from any shop or online, you are still covered by the Consumers Rights Act. Whether it’s a pair of fangs for your budding vampire, or a witch on a broomstick complete with cackle, it has to work properly. Whatever you buy must be as described and fit for purpose. If it isn’t then you’re fully entitled to a refund, so keep the receipt just in case.
Gory Halloween Injuries
If someone is injured as a direct result of faulty goods, hazardous products or injured at an event or attraction then you may be able to pursue a compensation claim.
Be careful when using scary contact lenses, face paints and Halloween make-up – much of the cheaper products come from overseas where restrictions and safety controls may not be as rigorous. It is sensible to do a skin patch test 48 hours before use to check there are no adverse reactions.
Whether you are dressing up, pumpkin carving, hosting a Halloween party or letting the spooky day creep by, make sure you stay safe this 31st October.
For further information on any of the issues mentioned in this article please call our team of Legal Experts on 01256 844888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
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