Covid: Can children trick or treat in my tier this Halloween?

The Halloween tradition of trick or treating will be allowed to continue, but only if you live in certain tiers. Credit: PA

Coronavirus has cancelled thousands of events for Britons this year, but it appears trick or treating at Halloween won't be one of them - depending on which tier of restrictions you're living under on October 31.

There had been speculation that the government would ban trick or treating in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus - which is rising again across the country - but the prime minister's spokesman has suggested it can be permitted under the current Covid-19 rules.

The spokesman said: "The rules are there for all circumstances and people will have to use their commons sense in ensuring they are following the rules."

Despite several Halloween festivals having already been cancelled - including in Paisley and Fife - it seems trick or treating will be allowed in some circumstances.

  • England

Tier 3 (Very high alert)

Unfortunately, if you live in a Tier 3 area, you and your children will have to stay indoors, carving pumpkins rather than venture out the house looking for sweets because trick or treating will be banned.

Asked about the prospect of the favourite Halloween pastime being banned this year, Boris Johnson's official spokesman said: "If you're in a 'Very High' alert level then you cannot mix with other households indoors or in private outdoor spaces. "

As trick or treating involves knocking on someone's front door, it is safe to assume you would be on their private property by doing so, therefore it breaks the rules.

Tier 2 (High alert)

If you live in the 'high' alert level, you're in luck when it comes to Halloween - unless you don't like sharing your sweets when trick or treaters knock on your the door.

In Tier 2, outdoor household mixing is permitted, so long as it involves six or less people and takes place outdoors, then trick or treating is allowed.

The rule on private outdoor spaces does not apply in Tier 2, meaning children will be allowed to knock on doors if there aren't more than six of them.

The PM's spokesman said: "If you're in a High Covid alert level then the rule of six applies in private gardens and outdoor spaces but households must not mix indoors."

Tier 1 (Medium alert)

If you live in a medium alert level, trick or treating is allowed in groups of six or less.

People would even be allowed to step into someone's house to wait while they count out their change (if your outfit is good enough for a monetary reward!).

The prime minister's spokesman said: "In terms of the Medium alert level, you can meet indoors and outdoors in groups of no more than six people.

Families living in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have told people to stay indoors this Halloween. Credit: PA
  • Scotland

In Scotland, people have been told to stay home this Halloween, according to Scottish government guidance.

Trick or treating (guising) should be avoided to minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus between households.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “Under the current restrictions it is not possible to meet up indoors or in large groups outdoors, so the safest thing to do this year is to stay at home.

“I know guising is a big part of Halloween and children will be sad to miss out, but as door-to-door guising brings an additional and avoidable risk of spreading the virus, our clear advice for families is to avoid it.

“Children can still get dressed up and share jokes with their families, and our Parent Club guidance has lots of fun and creative ideas for families to enjoy a safe celebration at home."

  • Wales

Halloween gatherings and trick or treating has been banned in Wales, as the country is under a two-week fire-break lockdown.

Under the lockdown, people are only allowed to leave their homes for limited reasons, including for exercise, to obtain essential supplies, to provide care or medicine and to attend schools that reopen after half-term.

Welsh residents are not allowed to visit other households or meet other people they do not live with.

Instead people have been told to "find new and creative ways to get into the spirit of the occasion."

  • Northern Ireland

Trick or treating and bobbing for apples are among the traditional Halloween activities the Public Health Agency is advising against.

The health body has told families to come up with new ways to enjoy Halloween this year, including home decorations, carving pumpkin lanterns and arranging a virtual party online.

Dr Gerry Waldron, Head of Health Protection at the PHA, said: "We do not advise the tradition of ‘bobbing for apples’ this year or going outside to trick or treat within the community, as these are not safe practices this year, as they increase the risk of infection.

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