RESIDENTS are being asked to have a ‘spooky but safe’ Halloween this year, in light of the coronavirus pandemic and Warrington’s new local lockdown tier 3 restrictions.
Halloween, like many other seasonal dates in the calendar, is being impacted by the ongoing pandemic and the guidance and restrictions in place to keep people safe.
Traditional Halloween activities such as trick or treating, parties and other gatherings should not go ahead, as they risk spreading the virus further. Current restrictions on households not being able to mix in any indoor setting or private garden means that parties are not permitted unless only with members of your household and/or support bubble. Trick or treating is also strongly advised against due to the risk of transmitting the virus when knocking on doors and sharing bags and bowls of sweets, for example.
Instead, the council is encouraging residents to enjoy Halloween in other ways – so that families can have a spooky, creative and, importantly, safe time.
This Halloween, families could:
·Take part in the Big Neighbourhood Pumpkin Trail – which encourages households to decorate pumpkins and windows, with families being able to walk around their communities ‘pumpkin spotting’
·Organise a Halloween treasure hunt within your own household – print off some pictures of pumpkins, witches and ghosts and hide them around your house or garden, along with some Halloween treats
·Host a spooky film night within your household – make a ‘Halloween at home cinema’, put on your best fancy dress and settle down to watch something spooky. Some family-friendly films include Hotel Transylvania, The Addams Family, Hocus Pocus and The Witches
·Organise a virtual costume party with your friends – make a competition for the ‘best dressed’ person and video call your friends and family for a night of laughter and games
·Eat, drink and be scary! – Why not put on a feast Dracula would be proud of? Kids will love bloodied finger hot dogs, Halloween toffee apples and satsuma pumpkins!
Cllr Tony Higgins, cabinet member for leisure and communities, said: “We know Halloween this year will be different, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a spooky, safe time with your family. There are plenty of activities that you can get involved with, even though the normal parties and trick or treating won’t be going ahead.
“It’s so important that we focus on what we can do despite the restrictions, and there are still plenty of opportunities to create a memorable day for your little ones. I still expect to hear of lots of Halloween fun taking place in my neighbourhood!”
Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, cabinet member for public health, said: “Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, cabinet member for public health, said: “We must all keep our focus on making sure we’re following the coronavirus restrictions in place, but there are still ways for families in Warrington to be creative and have some spooky fun this year. Could you do apple bobbing in your household? Could you create some Halloween crafts or bakes with your kids? Or have a Halloween themed film night?
“There’s still a lot of fun to be had, but I must reiterate that indoor parties and gatherings are not permitted. It is also strongly advised that you should not trick or treat this year, so please think of elderly or more vulnerable residents who are trying to be extra cautious and shouldn’t be put in a position where they have to answer their doors to others, potentially exposing them to the virus. We also strongly encourage parents of older children and teenagers to ensure they’re celebrating Halloween within the local restrictions.
“Please be respectful and do all you can to reduce the transmission of the virus given our continued high case numbers.”
Some external activities that are COVID-secure and where all possible steps have been taken to minimise the transmission of the virus, may still be going ahead. There may be activities available such as pumpkin picking, but businesses hosting Halloween activities must ensure that they are not breaching any of the current coronavirus restrictions.
This means that activities may not be going ahead unless there are specific safeguarding arrangements in place, and the council’s public protection team will be working with businesses to ensure any plans they have adhere to the current legislation. Businesses who are in breach of the current legislation could be subject to hefty fine of up to £10,000.
For more information about the current restrictions in Warrington, visit warrington.gov.uk/coronavirus