Police and council leaders are urging people not to go trick or treating this Halloween.

With coronavirus cases rising across Hertfordshire, residents are being asked to find safer ways than trick or treating to celebrate Halloween.

Police and the county council have listed traditional trick or treating, where treats are handed to children who go door-to-door, as a high risk activity to avoid this year. 

Authorities have also warned people not to attend or organise fancy dress parties with more than six people, or any indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and screaming.

For those who may be at a loss for what to do, here are five suggestions for low risk activities for all the family;

Carving or decorating pumpkins

Get creative with members of your household and displaying them in your window, or outside. This year, why not carve a rainbow in your pumpkin?

See North Hertfordshire District Council's ‘how to’ video here: https://youtu.be/8rm4ri9_PxE

'Spot the pumpkin'

Take part in a local ‘spot the pumpkin’ trail throughout half term week, where people display pumpkin or Halloween pictures in their windows and you have to try and find them all with your family.

Scavenger hunt

Organise a Halloween scavenger hunt, where children from your household are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for either in your home, or outdoors

Skype night

Have a virtual Halloween costume competition using zoom or Skype.

Movie night

Have a Halloween film night with your household.

Detective Chief Inspector of Hertfordshire Constabulary’s crime reduction and community safety team, said: “Halloween and Firework Night can be great fun, but some residents, particularly those living alone, can feel frightened or intimidated by some of the activities.

“This year, although we don’t want to stop anyone from enjoying themselves, we are urging people to celebrate Halloween and Bonfire Night in a safe way and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

"There will be more officers on patrol during this period, so we will be able to respond quickly to any incidents, as well as providing a highly visible and reassuring presence. We will also be engaging, explaining and encouraging people to act responsibly, reminding them to follow Covid-19 laws, including wearing face coverings, where required and following the rule of six. We will take enforcement action if necessary.”

Jim McManus, director of public health at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “While Halloween is a great time of year for dressing up and having fun, this year we urge families to take part in lower risk activities, such as pumpkin carving or displaying spooky pictures, helping to minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus to others.

"We don’t want to be in a position where we have to introduce tougher measures and local lockdowns in Hertfordshire, but we need your help to avoid this.”

Cllr Linda Haysey, leader of East Herts Council, and chair of the community reassurance cell of the Hertfordshire Local Resilience Forum, added: “Thank you to everyone in Hertfordshire for your efforts in helping to control the spread of the virus. We all want our lives to get back to normal, but now is not the time to be complacent. Please continue to play your part this Halloween – wash your hands, cover your face and make space.”