Experts think trick-or-treating could help lonely people - but will Halloween be cancelled?
Though it could be said that the pandemic has provided us with more than enough frights for one year, children all over the country are likely wondering whether they will be able to take part in Halloween festivities this year as October approaches.
With the number of cases in the UK rising again it seems unlikely that social distancing measures will have eased up by 31 October - in fact, they may be even tighter than they are now.
So, will Halloween go ahead this year?
Will Halloween events go ahead?
It seems likely that most Halloween parties or similar events won’t go ahead, due to the current rule of six restrictions. However, some might, while taking care to observe all the social distancing guidelines.
In Scotland, a number of annual Halloween festivals have already been cancelled, including in Fife and Paisley.
What about trick-or-treating?
But Halloween is mostly about children getting dressed up and trick-or-treating (or guising, as it’s known in Scotland) door-to-door.
Many parents have expressed concerns about participating in Halloween festivities in the usual way, due to the obvious potential for the spread of the virus between households when children receive treats from all over their local area.
Should it be banned?
Any groups who do opt to don costumes and go door-to-door will still be subject to the rule of six restrictions. While in England this means no more than six people can gather including children, anyone under 12 is not affected by the rule of six in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
Due to the nature of the event, it would be practically impossible to make sure that protective masks were worn by everyone, all surfaces could be cleaned appropriately, and the rule of six restrictions could be maintained throughout.
As many people already know, there is no real way to obviously opt your house out of the festivities, meaning those who are shielding and particularly vulnerable might be inadvertently put at risk, even if they don’t answer the door.
However, some experts have said that, if people are going to take part safely, Halloween could be a welcome bit of fun and provide some engagement for people who are struggling with loneliness.
Speaking to East Anglian Daily Times, Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said, “We hope everybody follows the government guidelines and is aware of local restrictions. If visiting doorsteps, be sure to step back after knocking, so you are around two metres away from the person when they answer the door and make sure everybody handwashes before and after eating and handling treats.
“A large number of older people are feeling lonely right now and we all need to remember that loneliness affects your health, your wellbeing and the way you see yourself - it can make you feel invisible and forgotten, so it is more important than ever for us all to be vigilant and look out for older neighbours, relatives and friends to make sure they’re OK.”
A version of this article originally appeared on our sister title, The Yorkshire Post.