Families in South Tyneside are being encouraged to celebrate Halloween safely this year as part of ongoing efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
South Tyneside, and the rest of the North East region, is currently classed as a 'high risk' area for coronavirus. The Council is reminding people that, under the existing local restrictions, different households must not gather in any indoor setting. This means people cannot hold Halloween parties with those who are not in their household or support bubble.
Trick or treating is also discouraged due to the challenges of maintaining social distancing when calling at people's homes and the risk sharing food and sweets.
South Tyneside Council is advising people to consider alternative ways to celebrate Halloween to reduce contact between different households and help keep people safe.
Councillor Joan Atkinson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: "Halloween is such an exciting time of year and we know that many children and their families enjoy the tradition of getting dressed up in their scary costumes and going door to door trick or treating.
"Sadly, coronavirus is still all too present in our communities and anything that increases contact between multiple households increases the risk of the virus spreading. It is really important that we all do our bit to help keep ourselves and others safe.
"We are keen to keep the spirit of Halloween alive in South Tyneside and are asking families to get creative with their celebrations this year. This could range from virtual Halloween parties with family and friends, watching a favourite Halloween film, pumpkin carving and crafts or enjoying a socially-distanced walk in the local area to spot pumpkins and Halloween displays.
"The health and safety of our residents must remain our priority right now and as such we would ask families to continue to abide by the current restrictions. It is only by everyone playing their part and following the guidance that we will beat this virus."
Ideas for safer, alternative ways to enjoy Halloween include:
- Organise a Halloween treasure hunt within your own household;
- Host a virtual party with themed games and music;
- Watch a scary movie with the family;
- Carve pumpkins;
- Make your own Halloween costumes;
- Give your windows or doors a spooky makeover or craft a pumpkin for others to enjoy;
- Walk from house to house, admiring Halloween decorations. Share sweets amongst your own household every time you spot some decorations.
Councillor Atkinson added: "If families do go outside, then it is important to remember that the rule of six applies and a safe distance of two-metres should be kept from anyone outside their household or support bubble. People are also advised to wear a face covering if they can, take hand sanitiser along and wash hands with soap and water when they get home. If anyone is self-isolating, then please stay at home this year."
Tom Hall, South Tyneside's Director of Public Health, added: "A huge effort is being made in our communities and, because of this, we are seeing the rate of new cases slow down.
"I'd like to thank everyone for their efforts in following the existing advice and guidance and would urge people to continue to play their part this Halloween. It is important that we all keep doing the simple things that will bring our rates down to avoid harsher restrictions being imposed by Government."
Families are encouraged to share pictures of activities, costumes and creations on the Council's social media channels at on Facebook STynesideCouncil and LoveSTyneside and on Twitter @STyne_Council and @LoveSTyneside.
For further information and advice during the ongoing pandemic, visit the Council's website at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/coronavirus