How to avoid Halloween becoming a COVID nightmare

The rising number of COVID-19 cases in Plymouth means we need to get our Halloween spooks in a different way this year.

Unfortunately, trick or treating is out because of the risks of spreading COVID-19 by sharing sweets and knocking on multiple doors.

And traditional Halloween parties should be avoided as indoor gatherings in a confined space pose a big risk of spreading the virus – especially if people are screaming! Remember, the Rule of Six applies both indoors and outdoors and includes children.

Ruth Harrell, Director of Public Health for Plymouth, said: “We all need to take extra care due to the worrying rise in cases of COVID-19 in Plymouth but Halloween is definitely not cancelled this year.

“There are plenty of ways to make it as fun and frightening as ever, while also keeping safe. We just need to do things a little differently and avoid things can put family members and others at risk.

“We are strongly advising that families do not go trick or treating due to the significant risks of spreading the virus. 

“The rule of six applies both indoors and outdoors so traditional Halloween parties and social events should also not take place this year.

“We’re suggesting a few other ways of having fun at home and online with your friends and there are plenty of other ideas for enjoying it safely online. I hope you have a safe and enjoyable Halloween.”

A few ways you can enjoy a spooky – but safe – Halloween with family and friends: 

Get your spooks on the Halloween Trail in the city centre

There’s ghostly goings-on in the Plymouth city centre with the Halloween Trail running throughout half term – Saturday 24 October to Sunday 1 November. Locate the 15 Halloween characters displayed in shop windows to be in with a chance of winning £100 to spend in Footloose and Fancy Dress. Once you've located all of the Halloween characters just scan the QR code (featured on all of the posters) to complete the entry form.

Create wicked windows 

See who can create the scariest window in your street and arrange a prize for the winners. Remember to keep your distance if you meet others when out looking.

Have a fearsome fancy dress party  

Arrange a party online via scary Skype or zombie Zoom and invite your friends and family. You may want to nominate a DJ to put together some terrifying tunes. 

Hold a virtual horror quiz  

Send out your invites early and ask everyone to write ten questions each. Throw in a music round of guess the horror movie theme tune. Extra points for the best fancy dress! 

Sit down to a scary movie marathon 

Dig out some truly terrifying classics and enjoy a scary movie marathon. 

Tell scary stories  

Write your own horror stories and read them aloud in your spookiest voices. Turn off the lights and use a torch to set the scene. 

Monster moves 

Put together a Halloween play list and see who has the scariest moves. 

Get creative in the kitchen 

Bake a Halloween cake. Or try making hot dog ‘fingers’ with tomato sauce, or creepy cakes with sweets such as ‘eyes’, ‘worms’ and fangtastic ‘teeth’ for decorations.   

Whatever frightful fun you get up to, please remember…

  • Only meet people socially in groups of up to six – including children
  • Follow social distancing if you do see other people
  • Wash hands, cover face, make space