Trick or treaters told to play safe this Halloween
The advise comes as part of Sunderland and South Tyneside community safety partners' Darker Nights campaign.
Northumbria Police are working with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and both Sunderland City and South Tyneside councils in the run up to Halloween and bonfire night.
With Halloween coming up ,on Monday it is anticipated youngsters will be out trick or treating across the weekend and police want to make sure parents who do let their child go trick or treating have adult supervision.
And, that they only visit people who want to take part in the tradition.
Superintendent Sarah Pitt said: "We know young children will be looking forward to dressing up to go trick or treating this weekend and we want them to have fun. Parents who are letting their child go trick or treating should make sure there is adult supervision with them and that they are not out too late.
"Please be mindful not everyone wants to take part in trick or treating - it can cause a lot of concern to elderly and vulnerable people who don't want to be visited. Pre-arrange with family and friends homes to visit rather than cold calling."
Police offer the following advice to parents:
-Plan ahead and preferably visit homes where people are expecting you.
-If a householder does not want to take part, respect their wishes and do not persist, this can be frightening for some residents.
-If your children are taking part in 'trick or treat' always make sure they are accompanied by an appropriate adult.
-Never let children go into a stranger's house.
-If you are concerned for an elderly or vulnerable neighbour invite them into your home for the evening, or offer them your telephone number for reassurance.
Older children and adults celebrating Halloween are also asked to be considerate about their celebrations.
Supt Pitt said: "Last year the number of reports of anti-social behaviour during Halloween and Bonfire Night dropped dramatically however we know it is a concern for our local communities, in particular those who are elderly or vulnerable.
"Halloween isn't an event that everyone wants to celebrate and some residents can find it annoying or even intimidating. We would ask those who are celebrating to be considerate and think about the effects their behaviour can have on others this Halloween - to some it may just be high-jinks but to others it can be frightening."
Extra officers will be on patrol throughout the weekend to offer reassurance to local residents and deal with any reports of anti-social behaviour.
Chair of the Safer Sunderland Partnership and Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, Coun Harry Trueman said: “We want everyone to enjoy the occasion, but also to remember to keep themselves and others safe and respect people’s privacy if they choose not to get involved.”
Coun Moira Smith, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety at South Tyneside Council, added: "Clearly Hallowe'en is a fun and exciting time for young people but it's important that they recognise that trick or treating may not appeal to everyone.
"For some of our older residents, this can be a scary time so I would urge people to follow the police's advice and trick or treat safely and responsibly."