Safety is key for Halloween celebrations

Taking part in the Dead of Night parade. Photo by Shelley Corcoran
The streets of Longford will be taken over by ghouls and ghosts tomorrow night, as the eighth annual Dead of Night festival gets underway.

The streets of Longford will be taken over by ghouls and ghosts tomorrow night, as the eighth annual Dead of Night festival gets underway.

A project started by the HSE Midland Area Health Promotion Service, Longford Town Council, Longford County Council, An Garda Síochána and the Attic Youth Cafe, the popular festival will begin at 6pm with a parade from St Mel’s College.

The fun will then move on to the Market Square, where there will be carnival booths, an inflatable slide, an entertainment dome and much more.

All are invited to dress up and come along for what is promised to be an excellent night of entertainment.

The festival goes beyond entertainment, however. The organisations behind the festival aim to promote safety at Halloween, preventing accidents, injuries and damages – something in which they have succeeded over the past 8 years.

Safety is key during Halloween, with the season often associated with fire or firework-related injuries and damage.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter this week warned of the dangers of illegal fireworks at Halloween, and indeed, the penalties associated with their misuse.

“Unfortunately at this time each year a number of people are injured, some badly, as a result of the misuse of fireworks” Minister Shatter said. “Many of these casualties are children or teenagers who in some cases lose fingers or even hands and can also suffer serious burns or eye injuries. Most of these injuries are caused by powerful fireworks such as bangers, rockets and roman candles. The laws governing the use of such fireworks are particularly robust and licences under the Explosives Act 1875 are only issued by my Department for the importation of fireworks which are to be used in organised displays conducted by professional operators.

The Minister concluded asking people to play their part in preventing the misuse of fireworks.

“Whereas my Department and the Garda Authorities will continue to do everything possible to prevent the misuse of fireworks, it is incumbent on all of us to play our part in ensuring that we can all enjoy the festivities of Halloween in a safe environment. One must remember that if one partakes in an activity involving unlicensed fireworks, you are potentially putting the safety of others, and indeed the lives of others, at risk. Fireworks are therefore best left to the professionals.”