Be safe and have some fun this Hallowe’en

Hallowe’en can be great. It’s the last holiday before the roll-out (be it premature ) of everything Christmas. Not to mention we get a bank holiday, kids get a couple of days off, we all get to eat sweets, play Hallowe’en games, and everyone can dress up without being judged (mostly )!

But on the downside, Hallowe’en can result in a lot of cruel acts, and can be an upsetting night for some. It’s no secret that every year A&E departments are filled with those who receive horrific injuries after using fireworks, and fire services are monopolised by battles with out-of-control bonfires.

Westmeath County Council has posted guidelines on its website which it advises should be followed in an attempt to prevent injury:

If you see material such as pallets, tyres, and old furniture being hoarded in advance of Halloween please contact the environmental section of Westmeath County Council on (044 ) 9332000.

Do not leave material lying around that may be taken for a bonfire; many garage or garden shed items such as petrol, white spirits, diesel, aerosols, batteries, tins of paint, bottles, and tyres are extremely dangerous if set on fire.

Do not facilitate illegal bonfires or firework displays on or near your home or property.

Contact the county/town council if you see a bonfire being built or lit close to buildings, trees, overhead cables, underground services, or car parking areas.

Explain the dangers of illegal fireworks and bonfires to children and teenagers.

Stay a safe distance from bonfires and fireworks – wind can carry sparks long distances and can cause permanent injuries and scars.

Stay with your children and escort them on trick or treat visits, parties, and events.

Keep dangerous substances such as oil, petrol, and diesel away from fires or fireworks.

The council also appeals to all parents, businesses, and householders not to provide any materials for bonfires.

Do not buy, use, or supply fireworks.

Respect the work of the emergency services, council staff, and An Garda Siochana

Keep pets indoors on Hallowe’en night.

Above all – be safe and stay safe.

But you know, it’s not all about the seriousness. Hallowe’en is also about having fun.

After all, the holiday originated in Ireland. It was originally known as Samhain, and was a celebration of the end of the harvest season, and is sometimes regarded as the Celtic New Year.

And just remember when you’re out trick-or-treating with the kids on Saturday night that it was brought to America in the 1840s by Irish escaping the Great Potato Famine.

On Hallowe’en, Irish peasants begged the rich for food and played practical jokes on those who refused. To avoid being tricked, the rich handed out cookies, candies, and fruit - a practice that turned into our present day trick-or-treating.

So enjoy yourself on Saturday night, dress up and have some fun, and above all, stay safe!


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