Scotland’s children told ‘stay at home’ this Halloween

Parents are being urged to hold celebrations at home

The Scottish government has told children to stay at home this Halloween.

In guidance issued a week ahead of 31 October, people have been told guising and parties are not encouraged.

Instead, people have been asked to have safe Halloween celebrations at home.

It comes as clinical director Jason Leitch suggested the central belt would be put into tier three restrictions when the new framework begins on 2 November.

The Halloween move was announced on the Scottish government’s Parent Club website.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said allowing children to go door-to-door this year would increase the risk of the spread of Covid-19.

“Under the current restrictions it is not possible to meet up indoors or in large groups outdoors, so the safest thing to do this year is to stay at home,” he said.

“I know guising is a big part of Halloween and children will be sad to miss out, but as door-to-door guising brings an additional and avoidable risk of spreading the virus, our clear advice for families is to avoid it.

“Children can still get dressed up and share jokes with their families, and our Parent Club guidance has lots of fun and creative ideas for families to enjoy a safe celebration at home.”

Scots have also been told not to hold large gatherings in their gardens for Bonfire Night due to the cancellation of organised events.

Mr Swinney said it was vital the public adhered to the rules on meeting up with other households to stop transmission of the virus.

Trick-or-treating has been discouraged due to a high risk of spreading Covid infection

“We know that some people may consider using fireworks in their back gardens,” he said. “If you do plan on using fireworks this Bonfire Night, please do so responsibly and safely.

“Adapting alternative celebrations and sticking to the rules in place can go a huge way to ensuring everyone’s safety.”

The announcement of the guidance follows comments by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Thursday, who said it was “not safe” for guising to be allowed this year, due to Covid-19.

At the coronavirus briefing, she said: “It’s not safe right now to do these things as normal, and it would not be fair of me or right of me to say otherwise.

“To parents, to children; think of ways you can celebrate in a way that is safe and doesn’t have children or others coming into unnecessary contact with others.”

On Friday, the first minister announced that Scotland would be entering a new five-level system of coronavirus restrictions.