As concerns continue about rising Covid-19 infection rates across the county, children and families are being urged to enjoy alternatives to traditional trick or treating on 31 October.

Richard Flinton, Chair of the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum (NYLRF), which brings together councils, emergency services and health organisations to tackle the pandemic, said: “We are keen to get the balance right between protecting people from the spread of the coronavirus and ensuring that they can still enjoy themselves.

“I thank everyone for the huge efforts being made across the county as we all work to stem the rise in cases of Covid-19. It’s vital that we do not let these efforts slip as we enter this season of celebrations.

“Hallowe’en is hugely popular with children and families and we want people to be able to enjoy it. That fun is important to our wellbeing. But we must celebrate safely, so this year that means celebrating differently.

“The rules that keep us safe from Covid-19 every day apply just as strongly on Hallowe’en. Stick to the rule of six, indoors and outdoors – and remember that school bubbles do not apply outside school. Maintain social distancing, wear a face covering in any busy place, inside or out, and wash your hands regularly. Remember to take hand sanitiser if you go out.”

If people decide to go out on 31 October, they must follow these safety measures.

However, to reduce the risk to children and others and to combat the rise in infections, NYLRF is recommending that people do not go knocking on doors on Hallowe’en or collect sweets from communal bowls.

There are many alternatives that mean you can still enjoy a memorable evening, including:

  • Be creative: create a pumpkin trail where you live so everyone can join in without knocking on doors.
  • Be active: get dressed up and take a walk around your neighbourhood to see homes decorated for Halloween.
  • Be virtual: consider an online party with decorations, fancy dress and themed food. Play Hallowe’en games, bake Hallowe’en treats or tell spooky stories.
  • Be social: take pictures of your spooky costumes and activities to share on social media.
  • Be colourful: dress up the outside of your house with Halloween decorations for you and your neighbours to enjoy.
  • Be treat-wise: buy your own sweets to give to your children so they don’t miss out.
  • Be bright: if you carve a pumpkin, use a battery-powered light inside it to reduce the risk of fire.

Richard Flinton added: “We’re all striving to keep the county out of tighter lockdown measures, and the way we celebrate Hallowe’en – and how we mark forthcoming events like Bonfire Night and Remembrance Sunday – will have an impact on this.

“Any tightening of restrictions is likely to affect the holding of events and other celebrations, such as Hallowe’en.”

Keep up to date with Covid-19 guidance and news in North Yorkshire.