Poltergeists, Pranks and Property
With the run-up to Christmas, the only thing stopping every aisle in your local supermarket from being overstocked with tinsel, gift sets, and the latest must-have toys is Halloween and Bonfire night. While you work to create the perfect 3-foot tall poltergeist for trick or treating, have a thought for all those whose lives become a little hellish at this time of year as the damage to property claims rise faster than a zombie with a scent of brains in its nostrils.
It may be a fun time of year for most, but many do suffer as a consequence. Insurance claims for property owners rise sharply over the two weeks surrounding these events. Halloween creates an influx of broken window and damaged paintwork claims. It's surprising what the humble chicken's egg can do to even the hardiest of exterior paints; some tricks though are not so harmless.
One of the most dangerous and costly, not to mention potentially life-threatening events around this time is fireworks put through property owners letterboxes. According to AXA, the average claim amount from this occurrence in 2015 was £1000, and while most belongings and damage can be replaced or fixed it's only a matter of time before something much more severe occurs.
A St John Ambulance article published in November 2016 said that there had been an explosion in the number of accidents from bonfire night, specifically from the more common injuries such as burns, debris in the eyes from bonfires and smoke inhalation. In fact, 111% rise from the 2,141 reported incidents in the period 2009-10 to 4,506 A&E visits in 2014-15.
Most of the risks we face seem quite obvious, let's face it we are warned year on year with advertising campaigns warning of the dangers. However, there has been a much more alarming trend in incidents involving children and what should be a fun night trick or treating. The most recent are cases of the drug ecstasy discovered amongst the innocent sweets given to children, but even more sinister than that are incidents of gummy bears found laced with drugs. So parents, please be even more watchful.
I'd like to be able to say these things are rare, but they do seem by all accounts to be on the increase. I'm not here to spoil anyone's fun though as with all things there are always accidents and risks no matter what your chosen entertainment or fun pursuits are. I am just trying to raise awareness to help you avoid the doom and gloom and enjoy the bangs and boos which is what this time of year is all about a bit of Autumn joy just before the misery of Christmas (just kidding).
St John Ambulance:
AXA in the Guardian: