The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has disrupted many plans throughout 2020, and now there is growing concern that Halloween festivities will be cancelled.
The spooky season is well upon us, and many Brits are already getting into the spirit.
Can trick or treating, apple bobbing, and pumpkin picking still go ahead as planned, or will children across the nation have to WFH (Witch From Home)?
Here is all you need to know about how coronavirus will affect Halloween 2020.
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Trick or treating
The Governments for England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland have all advised against trick or treating, but have not officially banned it.
Trick or treating is allowed, so long as you follow the current guidelines of the rule of six and social distancing.
You should also refrain from going inside other people’s homes.
One or two members of the party would need to stand back when approaching the door – this is account for the members of the household answering.
Face coverings should be worn when exchanging sweets, and sanitiser should be used after touching doorbells and knocking on doors.
Avoid knocking on the doors of those who are elderly or vulnerable.
Also, refrain from going trick or treating or leave the house for any Halloween activity if you or anyone in your household has symptoms of Covid-19.
Individually wrapped sweets are better for hygiene than individual unwrapped goodies. Children could then wash or wipe down the wrappers of their treats before eating.
Households may wish to leave treats outside in a bowl, rather than have guisers knock on their doors.
If you wish to remain out of the festivities, then it may be a good idea to put a sign up in your garden or on your front door so you don’t have children knocking all night long.
University students nationwide are being advised to not throw Halloween parties, especially those studying at university which are in lockdown.
In areas deemed as ‘medium risk’ – tier one – parties are permitted, providing the rule of six and social distancing are observed.
Those in tier two will be able to throw a small garden or park party.
Those in tier three are not permitted to socially mix at all, and so will have to partake in Zoom Halloween parties this year.
Children’s Halloween parties
Children in England count in the rule of six, and so will not be able to gather in larger groups.
In Scotland, children under 12 are not included in the rule of six, but households are not allowed to mix indooors. So, any Halloween party will have to be held outdoors and socially distanced.
In Northern Ireland, which is currently in a countrywide four week lockdown, advise against any indoor parties.
However, Northern Ireland citizens are still permitted to meet outdoors in group of up to 15, and so outdoor parties are allowed.
The Welsh Government has ‘strongly advised against’ Halloween parties this year.
A spokesperson for the government said: ‘We ask everyone to think how they can keep Wales safe this Halloween and not spread coronavirus.
‘Halloween parties in either your home or at another venue are not allowed as we seek to prevent the spread of the virus.
‘Please remember not to meet anyone indoors that you don’t live with or is not part of your extended household. This applies to both your home and in places like pubs and restaurants.’
Pubs and clubs
For bigger kids, pubs and clubs tend to make a big deal out of Halloween, and throw big spooky-themed nights out.
However, nightclubs are currently banned from opening in all parts of the UK.
The rules on pubs varies drastically depending what part of the UK you live in, and so it is recommended that you use the government postcode checker to find out your local restrictions ahead of the big night.
A number of big annual Halloween events have been cancelled this year, including the annual Paisley Halloween Festival.
However, many are still set to go ahead as planned.
This includes Thorpe Park’s Fright Night in Surrey, where the theme park is open through the night with ghoulish figures trapsing the grounds.
For kids, Legoland’s Brick or Treat in Winsdor is planning to go ahead. The resort will be transformed into a pumpkin-filled wonderland.
The London Dungeons has confirmed that they are still open, depsite the tier 2 London lockdown.
The Scary Drive-Thru Maze in Wrexham is set to happen, as it is totally contact-free. You can get spooked from the comfort of your own car!
The Shambles Yard Halloween Concert in county Armagh is also going ahead. Former Westlife bandmate Kian Egan will headline the open air concert.
All big Halloween functions are undertaking various measures to ensure the events are Covid-secure.
This includes only taking bookings of parties up to six people, crowd marshalls ensuring that people are keeping socially distanced, asking customers to ‘check in’ using the NHS Covid-19 app upon entry, and making customers wear face coverings in indoor or crowded spaces.
Thorpe park has said: ‘Guests who simply do not wish to wear a mask will now be refused entry to our rides, attractions and buildings.’
If you are unsure if an event is safe, look for the VisitBritain ’We’re Good To Go’ mark on their website, or you can always email an enquiry. The mark means that the event is up to Covid-19 industry standard.
Many local Halloween fetes are also allowed to go ahead, as they take place outside.
The good news is that the super fun (and instagrammable) activity pumpkin picking is still allowed.
People flock to the countryside to farms to pick their own pumpkins.
However, social distancing should be observed at all times, and those in tier three in England, or in any local lockdown areas in Scotland and Wales are advised to only go pumpkin picking in their region.
Some of the most popular pumpkin farms include Penyfodau Fawr Farm in West Glamorgan, Secretts in Surrey, Cairnie Fruit Farm & Mega Maze in Fife, and Streamvale Farm in Belfast.
Apple bobbing is a Halloween staple activity, often played by children at Halloween parties and fetes.
Apple bobbing is when you fill a large basin with apples and water.
Gameplayers then have to try and catch an apple with only their mouths – their hands must stay firmly behind their backs.
The nature of apple bobbing is not very Covid-friendly, and so is advised against this year.
There are no rules against wearing costumes on Halloween, as long as you ensure that you wear some kind of face covering – even if it ruins your spooky face paint.
Why not dress up as something that includes a face covering, such as a ninja or doctor – scarily safe.
It is currently unclear whether Halloween face masks, which are usually silicone, count as sufficient face coverings.
To be safe, you could always wear a face mask under your Halloween mask.
You could always decorate your mask with fake blood or draw a creepy smile.
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