Fireworks and Halloween safety


Firework safety

You can’t buy ‘adult’ fireworks if you’re under 18, and it’s against the law for anyone to set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am, except on certain occasions. For more information on fireworks regulations visit: GOV.UK - Fireworks the Law

It is illegal:

  • To possess a professional display firework (unless a fireworks professional);
  • You must not set off or throw fireworks (including sparklers) in the street or other public places
  • You must not set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am. The exceptions are: Bonfire Night, when the cut off is midnight and New Year’s Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year, when the cut off is 1am

You can be fined up to £5,000 and/or imprisoned for up to six months for selling or using fireworks illegally. Police can also put in place dispersal zones in problem areas and stop and search anybody they believe is in possession of an illegal firework.

The Council encourages local people to attend the Harlow's annual firework event in the Town Park as a safety precaution rather than organise there own displays.

Operation Bang out of Order

Operation Bang Out of Order campaign led by Harlow Council Community Safety Team, is in partnership with Essex Fire and Rescue Services, Essex Police, Harlow Council Licensing Team and Essex County Council Trading Standards, under the Safer Harlow Partnership (SHP) has been running since 2006. The aim of the campaign is to reduce antisocial behaviour incidents during the Halloween and Firework period. Antisocial behaviour increases normally around this time of year, people of all ages need to be reminded of the dangers and consequences of their actions.


Bring your cat or dog indoors well before the fireworks start, remembering to close and lock any cat or dog flaps so that your pet cannot escape. Close your widows and doors, draw your curtains and switch on lights and put the television or radio on, as these measures will help lessen the noise and flashes of the fireworks. Wait until the fireworks have all finished before letting your pet out or taking them for their final walk of the day.

Sometimes, we tend to forget our small pets that live in outside pens such as rabbits and guinea pigs when it comes to fireworks, but they can get frightened by the noises and flashes of fireworks. If you can, try to move their hutches into a quieter part of the garden or better still move them into sheds or garages to minimise the effect of the fireworks and give them extra bedding so that they can hide if they want to.

No trick or treaters poster


Halloween should be a fun event not an excuse for antisocial behaviour – so we're urging people not to let the fun get out of hand.

Halloween can be an unsettling time for many people, especially older people and those who live alone.

If you do not wish to be visited by trick or treaters you can download and print a copy of the ‘No Trick or Treaters’ posters at: Essex Police - Halloween

‘No Trick or Treaters’ posters will be put up around all of Harlow Council’s Supported Housing Schemes.

Fire safety advice during Halloween: Essex County Fire and Rescue - Halloween

Safety tips for trick or treaters

Some advice for trick or treaters on how to stay safe during Halloween:

  • Always go trick or treating with an adult
  • Don't talk to strangers on the street
  • Only go to houses where you or your friends know the residents
  • Do not visit homes displaying a 'No trick or treaters' poster or a sign saying 'No trick or treat here'
  • Don't enter any house, stay on the doorstep
  • Although Halloween is supposed to be spooky, be careful not to frighten older people
  • Stay in areas that are lit with street lights - take a torch with you just in case
  • Always look carefully before crossing the road
  • Stay with your friends - don't split into smaller groups unless an adult goes with you
  • Be visible
  • Throwing eggs is antisocial behaviour and will get you into trouble
  • Use flickering LED candles rather than real candles in pumpkins
  • Make sure fancy dress costumes and masks are labelled as flame-resistant
  • Keep children away from naked flames
  • Make sure candles are extinguished before you go to bed
  • Make sure that fancy dress costumes and masks are labelled as flame-resistant
  • Don't use flammable materials to make home-made costumes. Be especially careful about using bin liners as capes