For those of us that enjoy some of the traditional Halloween treats like apple-bobbing, fancy dress parties and trick or treating, this year is set to be quite different.

In the midst of a global pandemic, we have to keep sensible and safe. This means most people won’t be welcoming knocks at the door from little ghosts and ghouls delving their claws into a sweet bowl! So, what are the guidelines exactly?

 

Halloween ghostly guidelines

The answer is dependent on where you live.

England:

Downing Street has commented that trick or treating can take place as long as local tiered restrictions are followed (*full socialising guidelines at the end of this page) but, they added that people must use their common sense.

Scotland:

Trick or treating has been strongly discouraged by the government, with John Swinney, the Deputy First Minister, telling people going door-to-door “brings an additional and avoidable risk of spreading the virus, our clear advice for families is to avoid it “.

And with people banned from meeting other households indoors, Halloween parties are also definitely cancelled.

Wales:

Wales is currently in a 17-day firebreak lockdown, meaning meeting people from other households, either indoors or outdoors, is not allowed.

“We are asking people to stay home during the firebreak period to slow the spread of coronavirus and help save lives,” a government spokesman said.

Northern Ireland:

The Public Health Agency (PHA) in Northern Ireland has reiterated people continue to follow the restrictions, which prevent meeting indoors with other households and restrict the number of people who can meet outside to 15. They also advise against trick or treating this year.

 

So, what can we do this Halloween?

We know that Covid can be spread by touching surfaces contaminated by the virus, as well as droplets in the air that are breathed in. So if you are doing something that increases your contact with other people then you would automatically be increasing the risk for both yourself and others.

Dr Chris Smith, a virologist at the University of Cambridge says “If everyone’s scrabbling round in a bucket full of sweets and they touch all of them then there’s a risk of transmission.”

To reduce this risk, he recommends giving out individually wrapped sweets so children aren’t touching something they then put straight in their mouths. Safer still, you could leave sweets outside the door for people to help themselves.

 

Get yer ghost on!

Try some of these ideas to have fun in your own household bubble!

  • Decorating the house, why not make a friendly competition with the neighbours to see who’s window display is the spookiest!
  • Arts and crafts, make some scary masks with the kids
  • Host a virtual party with themed games and music
  • Organise a scary trail in the garden
  • Watch a scary movie with your family

Not everyone enjoys being spooked on Halloween, so it may also be a relief to some who spend each year with the lights off to avoid trick or treaters!

Whatever you do, remember to check your local restrictions and be mindful of your own safety and that of others.

Happy Halloween / Happy Weekend!

 

*Tier Restrictions for England

 

MEDIUM ALERT LEVEL

This is for areas where national restrictions continue to be in place.

This means:

  • you must not socialise in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors (other than where a legal exemption applies)

You must wear a face covering in those areas where this is mandated

You shoUld continue to follow social distancing rules

 

HIGH ALERT LEVEL

This is for areas with a higher level of infections where some additional restrictions are in place.

This means on top of restrictions in alert level medium:

  • you must not socialise with anybody outside of your household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other spaces like beaches or parks (other than where specific exemptions apply in law)
  • you can continue to travel to venues or amenities that are open, for work or to access education, but should look to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible

You must wear a face covering in those areas where this is mandated

You should continue to follow social distancing rules

 

VERY HIGH ALERT LEVEL

This is for areas with a very high level of infections and where tighter restrictions are in place. The restrictions placed on areas with a very high level of infections can vary, and are based on discussions between central and local government. You should therefore check the specific rules in your area.

At a minimum, this means:

  • you must not socialise with anybody you do not live with or have formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting or in any private garden or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in an outdoor public space such as a park or beach, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venue

Taken from gov.uk

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