COVID trick or treat rules: What’s in, what’s out
Halloween celebrations are set to look markedly different for Australian families this year because of COVID-19.
State and territory governments have issued guidelines for children and parents hoping to go trick or treating in a bid to avoid any virus contractions while still celebrating the holiday at the end of this month.
In addition to the national standard of socially distancing by 1.5 metres and regularly sanitising hands, the new guidelines include notes on front doors, outdoor celebrations and disposable lolly bags.
This is how each state will mark the day:
Quizzed about the upcoming celebration during his daily press briefing on Tuesday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said "there's no Halloween plan" for the state, but a Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson told News Corp Australia that outdoor Halloween gatherings will be allowed in regional Victoria, permitted they meet the existing guidelines of no more than ten people.
In Melbourne, trick or treating is banned completely as it does not fall under the four reasons to leave the home, but could be subject to change as a further easing of restrictions is expected.
NSW Health is asking parents to hold frontyard events to avoid door knocking entirely this year and says groups of trick or treaters should not exceed 20 people.
"Provide closed packaging for treats, and instead of communal lolly bowls consider other ways of distributing treats (e.g. strewn along the fence)," a NSW Health spokesperson said, adding that families should "keep it local" this year by putting in effort to decorate and celebrate their local areas rather than travelling to "well known 'treat streets'".
Queensland is asking "all the monsters, ghouls and ghosts out there to stay up to date with the health directions," which includes social distancing and washing "your hands, claws, tentacles, and so on, frequently and well."
"Parents and carers could consider things like individually packaging treats for trick or treaters, washing hands well before preparing treats and in between handing them out, or using hand sanitiser," a Queensland health spokesman said.
In South Australia, the government said keeping 1.5 metres apart and using hand sanitiser is essential, as is accepting or handing out pre-wrapped lollies.
"Remember to wear your scariest costume, but please do not go out if you are unwell," a SA Health spokesperson said.
The Northern Territory is taking a slightly stricter approach, asking that trick or treaters keep celebrations to their street and within their local suburb, and use disposable bags to collect lollies that should be thrown away afterwards.
An NT Health spokesperson also told News Corp revellers should stay in small groups, and not share treats or costumes with people from other households.
For those planning to hand out treats, the government recommends offering sanitiser to trick or treaters at the front door and, handing out pre-wrapped lollies and not using a communal bowl for treats.
The ACT, which has some of the lowest COVID case numbers across the country, recommends parents and children participating in Halloween activities should only trick or treat with people you know, sanitise hands after knocking on doors or accepting treats, practice social distancing and avoid houses with large groups.
Alternatively, a spokesperson for the Department of Health told News Corp planning "an Easter egg-style Halloween hunt for treats in a specific location," and advises parents to "keep the handling of treats to a minimum and consider individually wrapped treat bags or tongs to hand out treats."
Those not wanting to participate are encouraged to speak with their neighbours before any events take place, and to leave a friendly note on their front door advising trick or treaters not to knock.
WA's Department of Health asks celebrators to practice social distancing, hand washing and recommends anyone feeling unwell stay at home this year.
Originally published as COVID trick or treat rules: What's in, what's out