Trick or treating can take place in some areas of England despite coronavirus restrictions, Downing Street has suggested.
Ahead of Halloween on Saturday, Number 10 said carrying out the traditional custom would be dependent on those local COVID-19 measures in place under the government’s three-tier system.
Asked about the prospect of trick or treating being banned this year, the prime minister’s official spokesman said: “The rules are those which apply to household mixing in general.
“And what that means in practice is, if you’re in a ‘Very High’ alert level then you cannot mix with other households indoors or in private outdoor spaces.
“If you’re in a ‘High’ COVID alert level then the rule of six applies in private gardens and outdoor spaces but households must not mix indoors.
“And in terms of the ‘Medium’ alert level, you can meet indoors and outdoors in groups of no more than six people.
“The rules are there for all circumstances and people will have to use their common sense in ensuring they are following the rules.”
Asked whether someone’s doorstep counts as indoors or outdoors, the spokesman said the question that applied was where someone’s private property began.
Pressed on whether Boris Johnson would encourage people not to go trick or treating this year, the spokesman replied: “He’d encourage people to follow local rules in all circumstances.”
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With large parts of the North West already in the “Very High” COVID alert level – also known as Tier 3 – police have already said that trick or treating is banned.
“People will need to find alternative celebrations to traditional trick or treating as we know it,” Lancashire Police said.
“Lancashire is in Tier 3 regulations and the law is that people can’t socialise with anyone who isn’t in their household or social bubble – this applies anywhere indoors and in private outdoor spaces including yards and gardens.
“This means traditional trick or treating where you go and knock on someone else’s door isn’t allowed as it means people from different households would be socialising and mixing.”
In other areas, with lesser COVID restrictions, local police are providing “no trick or treat” advice posters for those who might be shielding.
Surrey Police anti-social behaviour manager Jo Grimshaw said: “If you are going trick or treating, please follow the safety advice and remember that some people, especially the elderly, might be frightened by groups of people knocking at their doors so please respect any homes displaying a ‘no trick or treat’ sign.
“We want people to enjoy themselves safely but Halloween does not legitimise bad behaviour or vandalism and people need to consider how their actions can affect others.”