Coronavirus: What you can and can’t do this Halloween

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With different regulations in different areas and various levels of social contact possible, people are being urged to use their common sense. Dangerous?

Covid-19 and government restrictions means Halloween will look very different across the UK this year. 

We’ve compiled a quick guide as to what you can and can’t do and where you can do it, depending on where you live.


Trick-or-treating is a no-go to those living under Tier 3 restrictions, which limit gatherings and groups in outdoor private spaces, including front gardens.

If you’re in a Tier 1 area, you can trick-or-treat under the rule of six, meaning you can knock on someone’s door but you can’t go in if there are more than 6 people.

Under Tier 2, you can’t socialise inside somebody’s home, so you’d have to stand outside in order to trick-or-treat. Which is common practice, I think.

The PM’s official spokesperson has urged people to use their common sense. Which is perhaps more dangerous than you’d think.

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Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is in a four-week national lockdown, so indoor parties are off limits.

Apple-bobbing is also banned, according to Dr Gerry Waldron, head of health protection at the Public Health Agency (PHA). Which seems an obvious point to state…

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He said: “We do not advise the tradition of bobbing for apples this year or going outside to trick-or-treat within the community. These are not safe practices this year (because) they increase the risk.

“Sharing of food and sweets can also spread the COVID-19 virus. Face-to-face interactions with older and vulnerable neighbours could put them at risk.”

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The official advice is to only celebrate with members of your own household, as households have been banned from mixing with a new set of guidelines set to be introduced this coming Monday.

There are further restrictions in the central belt of Scotland, including the closure of pubs and restaurants.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney urged people to avoid activities “that make the spread of the virus more likely“.

Guising, a Scottish form of trick-or-treating, in which children have to recite a song, poem or joke before being rewarded, falls into that category, he said.

“Going door to door, passing sweets, touching items others have touched, all of that gives the opportunity for COVID to spread.

“So this Halloween our advice is you should stay at home… Don’t take risks for the sake of one night, it is really not worth it.”


Falling right in the middle of a 17-day lockdown, Halloween will look very different throughout Wales this year.

Meeting people from other households, either indoors or outdoors, is not allowed.

People are only allowed to leave their homes for limited reasons (exercise, to obtain essential supplies, to provide care or medicine and to attend schools that reopen after half-term.)

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

Public Health Wales has asked people to “not take part in traditional trick-or-treating which can put yourself and others at risk and breaches current guidelines which could incur a fine”.

What else can I do?

Pumpkin picking is still on this year, provided social distancing is maintained.

Pubs may be open, depending where you live, and some of the big annual Halloween events will go ahead – but with COVID-secure measures in place.

If you live in an area popular for trick-or-treating, you can make it safer by leaving sweets on the doorstep and for those children taking part by avoiding the homes of the elderly or unwell.

What are your plans this evening?

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