Cocaine given to trick-or-treating children - perhaps it's the neighbours we should be worrying about

Every year the subject of trick-or-treating arises at Halloween, but this year a story far more alarming has been added to the debate.

On Wednesday - Halloween to those who remember - Independent Voices ran a debate about that old Halloween tradition, trick-or-treating.

Is trick-or-treating, the debate asked, a tradition and harmless fun, or is it turning our children into vandals who terrify their neighbours?

Having limped along behind my little brother to trick-or-treat our neighbours until I was 12, I’ve always seen it as harmless fun. We always asked ‘the question’ of course, but the answer always came in bags of sweets and bars of chocolate.

Sadly, though, this year, some children in Royton, Greater Manchester, weren’t so lucky. Police were called after their trick-or-treating trip, but not because they had egged a house.

No, this time, it was the neighbours who played the trick. These children found two snap bags of cocaine among their bags of Halloween sweets.

A 33 year old man from Royton was charged with possession of class A drugs and is due to appear before magistrates in Oldham today.

Greater Manchester Police said parents and police acted quickly, and they believe this to be an isolated incident.

Still, when such incidents take place and are brought to public attention, it is no wonder there are people against trick-or-treating.

When my brother and I were young enough to enjoy the tradition, those against it were worried that their children would vandalise the house next door. Some would even not allow their children to go out because they saw the tradition as begging.

However, these days, maybe it is our neighbours that should worry us. Perhaps concern as to the safety of children will turn us against allowing them to trick-or-treat, as opposed to the concern of their 'tricks' being taken too far.