The following applies in England only.
31st October is upon us again. Hallowe'en. A night of dressing up, apple bobbing, and going from house to house trick or treating.
But this year is different. I have seen several posts on social media asking if it is allowed, and many more saying, we are doing it anyway. So what are the rules that apply this year?
Quite simply, in order to reduce virus spread, it is probably not a good idea to go trick or treating. And if you live in Tier 3, you risk a £200 fine if you do so. The Governments of all four home nations are advising against it.
Going from door to door for a social activity like Trick or Treating counts under Tier 3 laws as mixing households. Currently those in Tier 3 are not allowed to meet other households indoors in a public place, in a private house or a private garden for a social activity, and that is precisely what Trick or Treating is.
If you are in Tier 1 and Tier 2, then the Rule of Six must be followed, but remember if you are a group of six, and someone answers the door, that makes seven (or more) and that is not allowed! You should also socially distance from those not in your household by at least 2 metres at all times. Then you should wear a face covering underneath your costume masks, which are not likely to be COVID proof, and hand sanitise after ringing the bell or knocking the door knocker. Sweets should be wrapped and cleaned. In Tier 2 you must not enter any house other than your own.
If you have symptoms or are self-isolating, you must not go trick or treating, or open the door to trick or treaters. Nor must you attend a party or any other activity outside your own house. Stay at home.
If you are throwing a party, note that most universities have banned them. In Tier 1, parties are permitted as long as the Rule of Six is not breached, and social distancing rules are observed. In Tier 2 the party must be in a garden or park. In Tier 3, you are not allowed to socially mix at all, so the only Hallowe'en parties allowed are in your own house with those you live with or bubble with only. Remember in England children count in the six people rule.
Parties in pubs are allowed, within the rules, in Tiers 1 (indoors or out) and 2 (beer gardens only) up to six people. Tier 3 pubs and all nightclubs are currently closed and must not hold parties.
There are some events that are allowed - one is pumpkin picking, but ideally stick to within your own household (especially in Tier 3) and follow the venue rules, including social distancing.
Apple bobbing is not a good idea this year - it provides for too many opportunities for the virus to spread.
Some businesses in previous years have offered face painting, and Hallowe'en is always a busy day. They must follow the rules relating to Close Contact Services at all times.
Other things the Government are encouraging are shown below:
Whatever you do, do it safely and follow the rules.