Don’t let the spectre of coronavirus haunt your Hallowe’en
The Public Health Agency (PHA) is urging people to keep safe at Hallowe’en by coming up with new ways to have fun which stick to guidance around staying safe from contracting and spreading COVID-19 (coronavirus) within our families and communities.
In recent weeks there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases in Northern Ireland and additional restrictions have been introduced to limit the spread of the virus. It is important that every one of us sticks to these, and to public health guidance generally, so we can have fun safely.
Dr Gerry Waldron, Head of Health Protection at the PHA, said: “The past six months have been tough for everyone, so it is important that we take the opportunity to have fun and enjoy ourselves when we can, and Hallowe’en is the perfect opportunity to do this safely.
“With just a bit of creativity, we can think of new ways to have fun at Hallowe’en which also keep us safe from COVID-19.”
There are many games and ideas that will work within the restrictions:
- plan your Hallowe’en theme now and begin to make or adapt costumes as we approach the holiday period.
- make your own decorations and pumpkin lanterns together as a family project.
- arrange a virtual party online with other families or relatives with prizes for the best Hallowe’en costume.
- organise a Hallowe’en treat hunt around your own home or garden.
- make some drawings you can display in the window.
- organise virtual events with other families.
- take a vote for your favourite film and watch it together.
Dr Waldron added: “We do not advise continuing the tradition of ‘bobbing for apples’ this year or going outside to trick or treat within the community, as these are not safe practices this year, as they increase the risk of infection. Sharing of food and sweets can also spread the COVID-19 virus. Face-to-face interactions with older and vulnerable neighbours could also put them at risk.
“We want people to have fun, but to not become complacent or risk the health of themselves and others by going against guidelines or regulations.
“The key is to stay safe when enjoying Hallowe’en.”
As coronavirus is circulating widely within our communities, this is a critical time for us all to ensure we adhere to the regulations and guidance, and follow public health advice. This approach will benefit our communities and those around us now and in the long term as we head into winter.
In general, we should limit our contacts and maintain a social distance of at least 2 metres (6 feet) from anyone outside the household.
Wash hands regularly and wear a face covering as appropriate.
Keep up-to-date with the latest guidance and regulations at: www.nidirect.gov.uk/coronavirus