A number of UK councils have been issuing localised advice on how best to celebrate this year’s Halloween safely, following a recent rise in the number of postive Covid infections across some areas of the country.
Specific national advice on whether trick or treating is banned has not been set out, with a spokesperson for prime minister Boris Johnson saying earlier this month that the ‘rules are clear’ in terms of a ban on households mixing in areas affected by local rules. He stopped short of specifying that this would prevent all trick-or-treating.
The rule of six – banning gatherings of more than six either inside or outside – is still in force across England, with some regions subject to greater restrictions.
In Leeds, the city is under local lockdown, meaning people cannot meet or host people they do not live with in private homes or gardens unless they are in a support bubble. Leeds City Council has given clear Halloween advice, stating that trick or treating isn’t specifically banned, but that activities such as handing out sweets should be avoided.
The guidance read: “Don’t meet in groups of more than six, avoid household mixing, keep your distance, handing sweets out this year isn’t the best idea, but by all means decorate the house and celebrate within your bubbles.”
In Liverpool, one of the worst affected areas in the UK, guidance is more explicit, with a spokeserson saying simply that; “It depends on the restrictions that are in force at the end of the month but at the moment visiting other households inside or outside is banned so [trick or treating] would not be allowed.”
Hertfordshire, which is currently on the lowest level of Covid alert, is encouraging families to engage in lower risk activities such as pumpkin trails, scavenger hunts and film nights. It suggests staying away from ‘high-risk’ activities, which it defines as trick-or-treating, Halloween parties and visiting haunted house-style attractions.
“While Halloween is a great time of year for dressing up and having fun, this year we urge families to take part in lower risk activities,” said Jim McManus, Director of Public Health at Hertfordshire County Council.