HALLOWEEN is nearly here and police have issued advice to elderly and vulnerable residents wishing to avoid being tricked this season - and to parents and children set to go out in search of treats to ensure a safe evening for all.

West Midlands Police has issued these top tips for those who don’t like surprise callers at the door:

• Try to arrange to visit a friend/relative or invite someone to sit with you

• If you do receive an unexpected caller at the door don’t feel pressured to answer it

• If you are expecting a caller always ask for ID

• If you have a door chain make sure it is securely fastened at all times and be sure to use your spy hole viewer if you have one

• Print out a ‘no tricks or treats’ card for your door or window to help deter trick or treaters, click here to download a copy

Parents and children are advised to follow the simple advice below to make sure they have a safe and considerate Halloween:

• Young children should only go trick-or-treating with an adult

• Never trick-or-treat alone. Have at least two friends go with you

• Plan your route and make sure your family knows what it is

• Be very cautious of strangers - accept treats in the doorway but never go inside a house

• Walk on the pavements and cross the roads carefully using pedestrian and zebra crossings where possible

• Don't frighten elderly people - always be considerate

• Go safely home before it turns too dark and late

• Don't call at houses with 'sorry, no trick or treat' cards in the window