Halloween tricksters cause record amount of damage to homes

Article date: 30 October 2006

  • Two and half times more malicious damage claims on homes onHalloween
  • Three-quarters of spooked out Brits admit to hiding fromtrick-or-treaters

Forget ghosts and ghouls – this Halloween it’strick-or-treaters who are putting the frighteners on the nation andwreaking havoc on our homes, according to new research releasedtoday.

Figures from Norwich Union Insurance show that Halloween is theworst day of the year for malicious damage claims to property withan increase of 150% on 31 October. The average cost of that damageis a shocking £900.* It’s also one of the worst days of theyear for damage to cars, with 20% more claims than a normal day.The average cost is £1,200 per incident.*

Furthermore, in a poll of more than 1,000 homeowners** more thanone in ten (13%) people claim their home has been damaged by highspirited trick-or-treaters. The single biggest reported culprit ofdamage to homes is caused by trick-or-treaters throwing eggs andflour which is responsible for 80% of damage. However, moredamaging and costly examples of tricks highlighted by the researchinclude switching off electricity supply to homes, damage togardens and hedges and theft of items from outside peoples’homes.

It comes as no surprise that 92% of those surveyed by Norwich Unionadmit that Halloween makes them feel anxious, and 65% dread a knockat the door on Halloween.

The lights are off and no-one is home…
72% ofrespondents divulged that they have pretended not to be at homewhen trick-or-treaters have knocked at their door. The most populartactic employed by over half (58%) of Brits to escapetrick-or-treaters is to sit at the back of their home to make itlook like no-one is in, followed by turning off the lights andtelevision (42%) and ignoring knocks or rings at the door(17%).

Other key survey findings:

  • People in the Midlands are least likely to open the door totrick-or-treaters, closely followed by Wales and London
  • Northern Ireland is revealed as the place where Halloweenspirits are highest. People living there are the most likely toopen their door to trick-or-treaters
  • Wales tops the list as the region where homes are most likelyto be harmed by trick-or-treaters
  • Regionally Scotland comes top as the place where homes areleast likely to be damaged by trick-or-treaters.

Jason Harris, senior claims manager at Norwich Union, said:“Traditionally Halloween is associated with fear because ofthe supernatural but our research shows it’s real fearscausing the most anxiety.

“Our research shows that trick-or-treaters are the biggestcause of Halloween nerves, and only a small number of thosesurveyed attributed their fears to ghosts.

“With a three fold increase in malicious damage claims on 31October, Halloween is the worst day of the year for vandalismtargeting your home.

“While the vast majority of trick-or-treaters are just inhigh spirits, it’s worth taking a few simple steps such asputting your vehicle in the garage and making sure your doors aresecured.”

Norwich Union Insurance top tips for warding offtrick-or-treaters:

  • Consider stocking up on treats - this could mean thedifference between being a victim of a trick and averting troublefrom your home
  • If you are a parent, volunteer to take turns with otherparents to accompany children when they are trick-or-treating
  • Put the car in the garage or tucked out of the way for thenight
  • Move any garden ornaments, potted plants or bikes from thefront or side of your house and out of sight.
  • Malicious damage is covered as standard in most home insurancepolicies, but it’s worth checking you have adequatebuildings and contents cover.


Press office contacts:
Sophie Lam, Lexis PR,on 020 7908 6482 / 07957 133010, slam@lexispr.com

Joanna Pritchard, Lexis PR, on 020 7908 6440 / 0771 252 8558,jpritchard@lexispr.com

Rebecca Holmes, Norwich Union Press Office, on 01603 354 346 or07800 690 731

Notes to editors:

*Statistics based on Norwich Union claims data1995-2005
**The research for Norwich Union was carried out online byTickbox.net between 17 October – 19 October 2006 amongst anationally representative sample of 1107 UK adults aged 16+.

Summary of key findings

Who pretends they’re not in onHalloween?
1. Midlands - 79%
2. Wales – 78%
3. London -77%
4. North East – 72% / North West – 72%
6. South West – 71% / South East – 71%
8. Yorkshire – 68%
9. Scotland – 65% / East – 65%
11. Northern Ireland – 43%

Halloween damage hotspots:
1. Wales – 24%
2. South West – 18%
3. East – 16%
4. Yorkshire / Midlands / Northern Ireland – 14%
7. South East – 13%
8. North West – 12%
9. North East – 9%
10. London – 8%
11. Scotland – 6%

Top three regions for employing the tactic of sitting at theback of the house:
1. North West – 68%
2. Northern Ireland – 67%
3. South West - 66%

Top three regions for employing the tactic of turning off theirlights and television:
1. Scotland – 59%
2. Wales – 57%
3. East – 47%

About Norwich Union
Norwich Union is the UK’slargest general insurer with a market share of around 15%, with afocus on insurance for individuals and small businesses.

It is a leading provider of life, pensions and investment productsand one of the largest financial adviser (FA) providers. FAsprovide over 70% of the company's long-term savings business in theUK.

Norwich Union’s news releases and a selection of images areavailable from Aviva's internet press centre at www.aviva.com/media

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