The nights are drawing in. After the strangest of summers, we are hurrying through autumn and it will soon be Halloween. In any other year this would something for families with children to look forward to – all the fun of carving pumpkins, dressing up, getting together with friends, and trick-or-treating around the neighbourhood. But of course, 2020 is no ordinary year and the ongoing pandemic means parents will soon face the challenge of making a socially distanced, restricted Halloween work for an audience who may be both disappointed and frustrated.

The recent introduction of a three-tier lockdown system means the extent of those restrictions will vary from region to region. Here in the north-east, we are, unfortunately, in tier two – ‘high alert’. That means no mixing of households indoors and a maximum of six people at socially distanced outdoor gatherings, essentially ruling out Halloween parties, except perhaps for very modest garden get-togethers if the October weather allows. A properly supervised trick-or-treating expedition might still be a possibility – but residents of the houses visited might be less inclined than they otherwise would be to meet youngsters at the door to deliver a socially distanced treat.

Older children may be used to going trick-or-treating on their own but unless you are really very confident they can be trusted to properly socially distance themselves, both from each other and from the neighbours they call on, unaccompanied outings are really not a good idea and could, in theory, lead to you being prosecuted for child endangerment. The same applies to any get-togethers outside your home that your children might wish to attend: unless you completely trust the adults in charge, there will clearly be a risk of exposure and infection.

If you live in a tier 1, ‘medium alert’ region, things are a little more relaxed but the ‘rule of six’ still applies, putting a hard, upper limit on any parties or other social gatherings. And allowing kids to go trick-or-treating unsupervised is almost certainly still a bad idea.

Tier three – ‘very high alert’ – is essentially a return to full lockdown restrictions, so any children living in those regions will have to make do with strictly home-based festivities this year.

If your kids are keen on Halloween, and disappointment and upset is in danger of setting in, distract them! Keep them busy with indoor activities: pumpkin carving, perhaps, or painting a spooky picture -even a little indoor Halloween party all of your own, complete with video calls to friends. Create a sense of occasion and some happy memories as a family and they have a good chance of forgetting all the things they can’t do this year.

Here’s hoping 2021 is a lot more fun!

If you are worried about the rules around parenting in this covid world and beyond, please call us for a consultation on 01661 824582 or email We’re ready for your call and here to help.

Image by lobo235 via Flickr (Creative Commons)