Can kids go trick or treating? How lockdown rules affect Halloween 2020

It depends on where you live in the UK...
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  • With Halloween fast approaching this weekend, the pumpkins have been bought and the costumes created, but can kids go trick or treating for Halloween in 2020?

    Whether kids can go trick or treating this year will undoubtedly affect how families choose to celebrate the spooky holiday. Normally, we’d all be shopping for or creating our Halloween costumes this week and counting down the days until the celebration, which often sees large gatherings of people and non-Covid-secure activities like apple bobbing. 

    With the lockdown rules for many parts of the country recently updated under the new three tier system, it’s not looking hopeful that our Halloweens will be able to go ahead as they have done every other year. But when it comes to trick or treating, whether kids can go this year entirely depends on where you live and what tier you are in. This means you don’t despair just yet, as this classic Halloween tradition might still be a possibility for you.

    But if it’s not, then you can indulge in some of the other reasons we celebrate Halloween and go back to age-old traditions like preparing speciality sweet and savoury Halloween food for kids this year. In fact, there are plenty of other ways to celebrate with your household and support bubble or outside, with groups of less than six people, that don’t involve trick or treating. So no matter the weather this weekend and the space you have, there’s something for everyone to do. From baking ideas to get cooking with the little ones to making your own Halloween costume and even venturing outside for a Halloween treasure hunt or trail walk, there’s no need to be down if you can’t get involved in the spooky celebration this year with trick or treating. 

    Can kids go trick or treating for Halloween 2020?

    For many parts of England, trick or treating can technically still go ahead this year, though understandably many people are wary of knocking on doors and passing sweet due to concerns about passing on the infection, especially to the elderly. The government has decided to not issue specific advice on Halloween but rather has reminded people of the rules in each tier and advised people to use common sense. 

    In Scotland, which has just taken on its own 4-tier system, trick or treating has been explicitly discouraged. Deputy First Minister John Swinney has told parents that the pastime, “brings an additional risk of spreading the virus” and has issued guidance that families should avoid it. 

    Wales is currently going through a circuit breaker lockdown for 17 days and this will fall over the Halloween weekend. So it looks like trick or treating is definitely off the cards for this year. 

    A spokesperson for the Welsh Government has told people not to go trick or treating as it could potentially increase the risk of contracting coronavirus. They said, “Sadly Halloween, like many other events, will be impacted by coronavirus. We ask everyone to think about how they can keep Wales safe this Halloween and not spread coronavirus.

    “We strongly advise against traditional trick or treating. The more people you meet in close contact the more chance you have of catching and spreading the virus.” 

    In Northern Ireland, officials have confirmed that trick or treating and apple bobbing is also not allowed. 

    In all parts of the UK, Halloween parties are also a definite no-no. For now, the days of kids parties where the little ones bob for apples, share sweets and crowd around for Halloween games have been put on hold. Large groups of people mixing indoors has been largely banned since March and most of the restrictions have not allowed for groups of larger than six to mix indoors. 

    In some parts of England that are in tier one restrictions, however, Halloween gatherings of no more than six people can still go ahead indoors. But in other parts of the country that are in tier 2 restrictions, no two or more households can mix indoors. In tier 3, it’s completely forbidden as households are not allowed to mix either indoors or in private outdoor spaces. So unless those in tier three or two are planning to take their gathering to the local park on Halloween this year, it’s a no on group activities on Halloween 2020.

    Go on a Halloween ‘Pumpkin trail’ instead

    For parents and carers looking to distract little ones from the fact they can’t go trick or treating, a Halloween treasure hunt is the next best thing. Either around the house or in your back garden, hide some classic Halloween chocolates and sweets. Dress up as a whole family then give kids age-appropriate spooky clues to find their treats.

    Alternatively in some areas of the country, parents have already been hard at work making sure their kids’ Halloween is as normal as it can be. ITV reports that parents have been organising socially distanced ‘pumpkin trails’ where kids from one household or support bubble will go out and count the pumpkins they can see around the neighbourhood. For every pumpkin they see, parents give their children sweets or chocolates. If this sounds like something you want to get involved with, then ITV This Morning have their very own Pumpkin Trail poster to download, print off and use in your local area. You can download it here.

    So whatever the restrictions in your area, there’s no need to feel down about Halloween this weekend. We always knew it would be different from any other year but it gives us the chance to change things up a bit and try something new! These exciting ideas to spruce up your home Halloween for 2020 without trick or treating will keep the kids busy and their minds off what’s missing.

    Lockdown Halloween activities to try this weekend

    at home trick or treating alternative costume idea for Halloween 2020

    Credit: Getty

    Dress up in a new outfit (or make your own!)

    There are plenty of Halloween costumes for babies and kids still available to buy for Halloween this weekend. From adorable dragon onesies for babies to pirate costumes and superhero capes, all our favourites are back with a bang this year – and there’s even over 20% to be saved at the moment on Amazon.

    Or make your own skeleton, pumpkin or witch costume using classic crafting supplies like cardboard and face-paint. All of these you can easily pick up from your local Wilko, which will likely also have a whole section devoted to Halloween crafting this year, or from Amazon for next-day delivery.

    Watch a Halloween film

    Sometimes when plans go array, there’s nothing better than having a quiet night in. Kids (and adults) can still dress up for this one though. Pick a spooky, Halloween film for the family to watch together and then kick back with some treats to share. 

    Our favourite Halloween films for kids include: 

    • Hotel Transylvannia 1 and 2 (for ages 4+)
    • Toy Story of Terror (for ages 6+)
    • Room on the Broom (for ages 3+)
    • Corpse Bride (for ages 10+)
    • The Nightmare Before Christmas (for ages 7+)
    • Hocus Pocus (for ages 10+)
    • The Adams Family (for ages 12+) 

    Do some home baking

    Halloween baking ideas for trick or treating 2020 alternatives

    Credit: GoodtoKnow

    A classic lockdown activity but great fun nonetheless! Dig out the orange, green and black food colouring and all the edible glitter you can manage because the best Halloween food for 2020 is already on the supermarket shelves, ready to be bought. You could even create a whole Halloween themed menu with plenty of ideas of things to do with leftover pumpkin for dinner and then sweet Halloween treats for dessert. 

    Some of our other go-to Halloween sweet and savoury ideas include a cracking recipe for Halloween whoopie pies and a blood bath cocktail for adults.

    So there’s no need to wallow in not being able to go trick or treating this year as there’s plenty of (maybe even more exciting) foodie delights that you can make in the kitchen.