Halloween trick or treaters - they're the scourge of the neighbourhood. They charge round the town, horrifying people with their threats, demanding money with menaces. It's about time we were protected from them - and from Carol singers who will use extortion to get money from us soon after.
And that's exactly what one council is pledging to do.
Cold calling banSeaford Town Council in East Sussex has announced plans to crack down on everyone hitting doorsteps in the area asking for cash, according to a report in the Sunday Times.
They say that elderly people are intimidated by people who call at the door. This is certainly a valid point, especially when it comes to hard-selling double-glazing companies, energy salesmen, or cowboy traders, who see vulnerable people on their own as easy targets for their cold calling and high pressure techniques - leaving those who can least afford it much worse off.
However, in their zeal to protect people, they have also included carol singers and trick or treaters. Your view on the latter group will depend entirely on your experiences with them. If you have a few good-natured pre-schoolers in cute outfits calling before 6pm and delighted with a toffee, then there's a good chance you can't see the harm. However, this ban will definitely appeal to anyone who has ever opened the door to a gang of masked teenagers in the middle of the night demanding money.
Carol singer banBut carol singers? Really? Surely you'd struggle to be anything other than charmed by them - unless they are really out of tune.
Even if they're not collecting for charity, they are at least working for their money by showing a skill and braving the cold. And it's not as if you have to part with anything more than very small change, They're not asking for thousands for new windows, or your energy contract, they'll be perfectly happy with 10p and a smile.
And if they are really trying to protect people from absolutely everyone who could ever show up unannounced on the doorstep, then how come religious groups like Jehova's Witnesses and political parties will escape the ban?
VoteResidents are taking a vote on establishing a 'no cold-calling' ban within the town, although they have the option of exempting those collecting for charity from the ban.
If they go ahead with the ban, carolers won't be fined or arrested for singing. However, it is expected to put them off, as Trading Standards are expected to investigate anyone who regularly defies it.
So what do you think? Would you welcome this sort of ban in your area, or is it using a sledgehammer to crack a nut? Let us know in the comments.