The bracing chill of autumn has fallen upon us, so the leaves had started turning their bright, warm colors and you had to wash all your jackets that you haven’t worn since April. This also means that Halloween is coming up, so you better stock up on a big bowl full of candy and carve some pumpkins. But what about those trick-or-treaters that will be walking up to your door on October 31st?

Most of them will be innocent children on the prowl for sweets, but this may be a prime opportunity for disguised burglars to case homes for easy victims.

Here are some things that you can do to spot the phonies and prepare:

They’re Older Than The Average Trick-or-Treater

This should be a giveaway. Mind you, older trick-or-treaters aren’t that uncommon in some neighborhoods. Even high school students may seize the opportunity to play dressup and collect free candy from homes on a school night, but it’s safe to assume that little Tommy dressed up as a Ninja Turtle isn’t going to break your window and run off with your jewelry while you’re on vacation.

Studies show that most burglars are males under the age of 25. This means that they might look to be the same age as the hormone-stricken adolescent or the typical booze-guzzling college student. So if you see Nick or Chad from the nearby fraternity show up at your doorstep with a weak costume looking suspicious, it’ll be a good idea to keep your doors and windows locked for at least the next few weeks.

They Ask Unnecessary Questions About Your Home

If a trick-or-treater starts asking you questions about your home, that could be a sign that they’re a burglar looking to case some property. Think about it–if your main objective to obtain tiny, wrapped nuggets of processed sugar and high fructose corn syrup, you’re probably not concerned about the confection keeper’s house.

If the trick-or-treaters make comments or questions regarding your doors or windows especially, they could be sizing up your property to see how difficult it’s going to be to break in. They might even ask indirect questions about your work or upcoming vacations to see when you’ll be away. Don’t give them this information.

If they’re commenting on your yard decorations or other outdoor knick-knacks, these comments are probably harmless. Your 10-foot inflatable pumpkin and dancing Frankenstein animatronic deserve complimenting, anyway.

They Linger

No one likes a chatty stranger at their doorstep, especially when it’s cold out. As they talk, pay attention to where their eyes are wandering. They might be trying to look inside your house. Many burglars will target expensive electronics such as TVs and gaming consoles, so they’ll try to see what you have. They’ll also scope around your porch a little bit to see if you have cameras installed. Home security systems, including cameras and motion detectors, are big deterrents for burglars.

If burglars are really tactical, they might be working in groups. If you have someone at your front door trying to strike up a lengthy conversation with you, there might be another person scoping out your windows, back door, and other possible entrances. This probably isn’t something you’ll need to worry about, but something to keep in mind. For this reason, make sure all your doors and windows are locked.


What To Do

Let’s be honest, the likelihood that someone is going to scope you out for a burglary on Halloween night is pretty slim, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen. There are a handful of approachable things you can do to fortify your home against burglaries.

One of the best things you can do is look into a home security system because, at this point, many home security systems are becoming more affordable and have smart home features like remote lights and WiFi-enabled door locks. Another thing you can do is make sure you have a sturdy back door installed and regularly keep your windows locked. These are frequent entry areas for burglars.

On another note, take the time to check your property and clean up after Halloween night. Sometimes, burglars will leave clues like a discarded piece of trash or a chalk mark in order to “tag” your property. Clean up the trash around your property the day after, and you’ll get rid of the clues. Again, this is something that happens less often, but it’s better to be safe than burgled.