What are the rules on trick of treating for Halloween?

You have dressed up as a rat catcher and your kids look creepy in their rat costumes. Can you get them door-to-door for Halloween this year?

Well it seems to depend on where you live.

The Scottish government has strongly advised against trick or treating or covering up as it “creates an additional and avoidable risk for the virus to spread”.

“Going door to door, passing on sweets, touching objects that others have touched – all of this gives Covid the opportunity to spread,” said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Fooling around for apples, trick or treating and sharing candy are highly recommended by the Northern Ireland Health Authority as “these are not safe practices this year as they increase the risk of infection”.

And in Wales, October 31st falls during a 17-day national “fire safety” lockdown, which means meeting people from other households indoors or outdoors is prohibited.

Public Health England (PHE) has dared little advice on traditional Halloween practices other than encouraging people to “follow the rules in your area to be safe and have fun”.

“However you plan to celebrate Halloween this year, please remember to wash your hands, cover your face and make room,” said Medical Director Yvonne Doyle.

In Tier 1 alert areas, this seems to leave the possibility of some door-to-door Halloween activities open, as people can gather in groups of up to six indoors and outdoors.

In high-alert Tier 2 areas, you can meet people outdoors in groups of up to six people. Households should not mix indoors, however, while in tier 3 households mixing is effectively prohibited in most cases.

In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created a guide recommending making Halloween activities as safe as possible.

It is recommended that you bring hand sanitizer with you when you go out, use it before eating treats, and avoid direct contact with anything sweet or sour.

This includes wearing a mask, handing out candy outdoors if possible, setting up a table with individually wrapped goodies, and washing your hands before setting up.

Safer activities include a spooky family movie night, pumpkin carving in your own household, and an outdoor Halloween-themed scavenger hunt.

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