Halloween Safety: Why Crime Rates Rise and How a Safety App Can Help

Illustration of a Halloween ghost costume and jack-o-lantern
Halloween - a night where social norms fly out of the window. On any other evening, you won’t catch me opening my door to strangers past 7 pm. But on Halloween night, you can bet I will be handing out treats to spooky folks, and watching them dash off into the night. It feels absurd… but as a nation, we can’t get enough of it!

Despite the beauty of such an unorthodox night, UK Halloween crime statistics do indicate that criminal activity increases on the 31st of October. So if you’ve ever worried that Halloween is more of a ‘trick’ than a ‘treat’, you wouldn’t be far from the rotten candy apple. 

Knowing that Halloween and crime go hand in hand, why do crime rates rise on this particular night, and what can we do to keep our celebrations safe and secure over such an unconventional holiday? In this blog, we’ll explore how crime can increase over the holiday, and how to have a safe Halloween - in particular, how a mobile safety app can help you power through the holiday, and endure peace of mind. In short, we’ll explain how Halloween doesn’t have to be scary! 

How do Crime Rates Rise on Halloween?

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love Halloween?! Wild nights out, cosy nights in watching your favourite scary movie, kids Trick-Or-Treating, creative costumes - it’s all great…. except for the 40-50% increase in criminal activity

While the majority of these incidents are minor, claims data from Aviva Homes shows a 21% increase in malicious damage during October and November. If these Halloween crime statistics aren’t enough to convince you, news articles from police forces demonstrate how much emphasis constabularies place on keeping streets secure at this particular time of year!

To no one’s surprise, Hertfordshire Police announced its busiest period of policing to be Halloween. Most of these incidents are misdemeanours, AKA your stereotypical Halloween pranks and teenagers running around causing trouble-–however, there are also dramatic increases in call numbers relating to anti-social behaviour and criminal damage.

Hertfordshire Police also reported Halloween crime cases of actual bodily harm and social pressure from peers to engage in criminal activity. Alongside this, in 2018 the Cambridgeshire Police recorded a staggering 98 crimes on Halloween night: including 19 assaults, 9 thefts from a vehicle, 4 bike thefts, and 5 burglaries. Police forces even took to social media to warn people of crime spikes around Halloween! 

Statistically, most crimes occur between 7 pm-1 am, peaking at around 10 pm. Unfortunately, this creates a dangerous discord between kids Trick-Or-Treating, troublemakers committing legitimate crimes, and party-goers taking advantage of the Halloween excitement… Resulting in a spooky mix.

Halloween creates an opportunity for trouble. The long, dark nights; the sense of anonymity from costumes; and even the mischievous feel of the holiday can all act as a great clock for those who don’t want to play by the rules. It’s no surprise that crime rates can spike on Halloween evening! 

Why do Crime Rates Increase on Halloween?

So why do crime rates increase on Halloween? Ultimately there are several reasons for a higher Halloween crime rate, some of which include:

  • Anonymity: Costumes can provide a level of anonymity, making it easier for individuals with criminal intent to blend in with the crowd, or conceal their identities while committing crimes. It’s no secret that feeling concealed can lead to lower inhibitions; on a psychological level, hiding behind a mask can remove a person’s association with their actions

  • Opportunity: Halloween presents unique opportunities for would-be criminals. For example, people often leave their homes unattended to go Trick-Or-Treating or to attend parties leaving their properties more vulnerable to burglaries or vandalism. Not to mention, Trick-Or-Treating is associated with individuals opening their doors to strangers which in itself, can create new opportunities for those with criminal intent.
  • Social Pressure: Peer pressure or group dynamics can play a role in criminal activities during Halloween. Individuals may be more inclined to participate in illegal activities if they believe their friends are doing the same. Once more, psychologically we’re all inclined to feel like we belong to a social group and this can lead people to act outside their best nature. This ties into the above-mentioned statistic from Hertfordshire Police3.
  • Pranks and Mischief: Halloween is associated with playful pranks and mischief, but sometimes these actions cross the line into vandalism or property damage. Did you know that some retailers are actually advised to not sell eggs and flour to under 16s? Some examples of these pranks include people egging houses, smashing pumpkins, or engaging in other destructive activities. 
  • Alcohol Consumption: To no one’s surprise, Halloween parties often involve drinking. This can lead to confrontations, fights, or other alcohol-related incidents that may result in criminal behaviour. In fact, a lot of bars cite Halloween as one of their busiest nights of the year!


Illustration of police car to show halloween crime


How to Have a Safe Halloween

Now that we’ve accounted for why there is an increased crime rate on Halloween, you may be left pondering: is Halloween safe? What are the pros and cons of Trick-Or-Treating? Are there any tools available to stay safe? Below you will find a list of tips, tricks, and resources to help you venture through the evening with peace of mind!

  • Download A Safety App: However you’re celebrating Halloween this year, Callie’s personal safety app can help you stay safe.
    • Using the app’s ‘Watch Over Me Sessions’, you can share your live location with your chosen friends and family (your guardians) and set a timer for when you’ll be done with your activity. This is useful for monitoring your kids Trick-Or-Treating, sharing your live location with friends, and staying safe at parties! If you don’t mark in as safe on the app by the time you allocate for your activity, your guardians will be prompted to check up on you. 
    • Additionally, the app features a ‘Slide to Send Alert’ feature which you can use to prompt your Guardians to check up on you. For even better peace of mind, Callie also provides advanced, 24/7 safety monitoring through their partners ADT. With this advanced package, all alerts are handled by leading security operatives, who can respond to alerts, talk to you over the phone, and liaise with emergency services for you if necessary.
    • Finally, the app features fake calls which you can discreetly trigger through your phone. This is perfect should you wish to get out of uncomfortable situations while out Trick-Or-Treating, at the door with strangers, or if you want to leave a party early!
    • Download the Callie app for free on iOS or Android 
  • Secure Your Home: If you're not home, make sure your property is well-lit and secure. Locking all doors and windows can help deter potential burglars and introducers. This may also prevent pranks and vandalism, as it suggests people are present in the house.
    • Alternatively, if you’re handing out treats to Trick-Or-Treaters, ensure valuable items are out of sight from windows and doorways, and keys aren’t placed in visible locations when answering the door. 
  • Stay Visible: If you’re out on Halloween night, opt for a reflective item of clothing, or add reflective tape to your costumes. This will ensure your visibility to passing drivers. Other options include flashlights, glow sticks, or wearable LED accessories. Not only will this add a layer of uniqueness to your Halloween costumes, it will make you more visible to drivers.
  • Travel in Groups: A golden rule for staying secure on Halloween is to travel in groups. Whether you’re Trick-Or-Treating, attending parties, or exploring haunted houses, being in the company of friends or family provides an extra layer of safety… When this is not possible, the Callie app can leave you feeling secure knowing that someone is watching out for you.
    • Travelling in groups may deter criminal activity - after all, there is strength in numbers! By looking out for one another, you’re opting for a safer Halloween evening. 
  • Plan Your Trick-Or-Treating Route: Before heading out to Trick-Or-Treat, plan your route! You can stick to well-lit areas, and choose neighbourhoods you’re familiar with. By doing this, and sharing your live location with friends and family on the Callie App, your guardians will be informed and ready to assist in case you encounter any unexpected situations. Mapping out your adventures provides a sense of security, so you can enjoy Halloween to its fullest!
  • Stranger Danger: While there is something magically novel and innocent about knowing on strangers’ doors - not to mention the giving and receiving of sweets - you should still be careful. Instruct children never to enter the homes of people they don’t know, and be mindful of interactions with unfamiliar individuals. If you are worried about your kids going trick-or-treating by themselves, equip them with the Callie app and show them how to trigger a discreet alarm if they feel uncomfortable or unsafe. 
    • Furthermore, if you’re staying at home over Halloween, don’t feel pressured to take part in anything you don’t want to. Give out sweets for as long as you want (or not at all). If you feel uncomfortable, trust your instincts and keep your door locked. 

In Summary

While there are loads of good reasons to love Halloween, it can feel like a nightmare to many, and there are crucial reasons to be careful! Crime rates may increase during this holiday, but with the right precautions and the assistance of a safety app, you can ensure a safer and more enjoyable Halloween celebration for you and your loved ones. 

Download the Callie app for free on iOS or Android and make Halloween –the wildest and spookiest of all holidays– a little more stress-free.

Stay safe, and have a spooktacular Halloween!