Every year around Halloween, Langley residents get used to hearing things go bump in the night. Or bang.
Fireworks and firecrackers, while heavily regulated or banned outright, turn up every year.
Assistant Fire Chief Pat Walker said that while it's an issue, it's been far less serious since Langley Township and its neighbours began creating bylaws that sharply restricted who could use fireworks, more than a decade ago.
"We were one of the first to bring it in," Walker noted.
Fireworks sales are completely banned in the Township and most of its neighbours, including Langley City.
The current Township fireworks bylaw was brought in in 2005. In 2004, Walker said there were 21 calls to the department related to fireworks. In 2011, there were zero fireworks-related calls.
Fireworks are still legal, but to set them off you need a permit or licence from the Explosives Regulatory Division of the B.C. government.
Then you need a $50 Township permit, and you must meet a set of guidelines on how and where you can set off your Roman candles and starbursts.
The rules even apply to people simply transporting fireworks through the community - if caught bringing in fireworks through the border and without the property paperwork, people can face a fine, and Walker said Canada Border Services knows about the local rules.
Several communities in the Lower Mainland still allow the sales of fireworks, including Vancouver.
Firecrackers are illegal throughout B.C., but are legal in the U.S., and every year people try to bring them in, Walker noted.
The Langley RCMP are also stepping up their patrols for both Halloween and its nearby weekends.
Const. Craig van Herk said there will be foot and bike patrols, officers in parks, and both uniformed and plainclothes officers will be out in greater numbers.
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