It couldn’t have been spookier if it tried.
In the depths of the mid-autumn darkness, witches, Count Draculas and skeletons emerged from their light, warm homes to stroll the streets in search of treats.
It’s fair to say that rain stopped play for a few of the more tame-hearted, but others braved the elements to make the most of Halloween celebrations last night.
And the South of Butser Safer Neighbourhoods Team was more than prepared for the spooky goings-on.
Having decked out their van with a flashing pumpkin, ghost, giant black and orange furry spiders and spine-chilling tunes, the team made the most of their bid to engage with people on their Horndean, Clanfield and Rowlands Castle beat.
It was a quieter night than anticipated.
But that did not stop youngsters in their best fancy dress daring to enter the team’s van for sweets and pictures with police officers with their parents.
Among them was Emma Chorley, 11, who was out trick-or-treating with her dad and siblings Sophie, 10, Reece, seven, Millie, five and TJ, two.
She said: ‘It’s definitely scary. We’ve been out trick or treating.
‘The police are nice here.’
One dad got into the spirit by turning up dressed as a Halloween crocodile – a reptile perhaps not most commonly associated with All Hallow’s Eve – but a sterling effort all the same.
Meanwhile the Safer Neighbourhoods team was able to chat to residents, listen to their concerns and build bridges with the community.
The team pre-prepared for Halloween by speaking to local residents about their concerns and giving advice, visiting local shops and advising them about their sales of eggs and flour to minimise the potential for ‘trick-or-treats’ going wrong.
Last night the South of Butser Safer Neighbourhoods Team was up to its full strength of three PCs, one special constable and three police community support officers as they patrolled the streets in a bid to keep the community safe.
Sergeant Phil Bentley said: ‘The idea is to engage people and get them to support a bit of common sense while they are trick-or-treating, so we don’t have general anti-social behaviour as a result.
‘All of this work, all of our community engagement is very much a multi-agency focus. We work closely with East Hampshire district council, the parish councils, housing, schools and businesses.
‘It’s all about the long-term problem solving – that’s how we do it in principle.’