With just a few weeks to go, it's starting to look like Halloween is set to join the Covid-19 scrapheap as concern rises over the prospect of children standing on doorsteps and putting their hands into big bowls of sweets, potentially spreading the virus.
In the USA, Halloween remains a hugely popular tradition - however, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has been forced to revise its Halloween guidance after a public outcry. Having banned door-to-door Trick or Treating, officials will simply recommend that the activity should be dropped for this year.
Dr Barbara Ferrer, the county's public health director, said it was 'just not sensible' in a pandemic.
"Trick or Treating, we're highly recommending that it not happen,'' she said during a press briefing on Wednesday (9 September). "We don't think it's an appropriate activity during a pandemic.
"You know, there's no guarantee when you go Trick or Treating that your child goes up to a house where the person who opens the door is wearing a face covering.
"And when you don't know the people opening the door, there's no guarantee they're not sick and that the candy they're passing out that they've touched may not be safe for you to want your child to be sharing.''
However, it's not just those across the pond who could be affected by this. According to Age UK charity director, Caroline Abrahams, older people in particular are already incredibly nervous about any return to normal, 'which includes answering the door to Trick or Treaters'.
Abrahams also told the East Anglian Daily Times: "We hope everybody follows the government guidelines.
"If visiting doorsteps, be sure to step back after knocking, so you are around two metres away from the person when they answer the door, and make sure everybody handwashes before and after eating and handling treats."
Indeed, as more and more areas of the UK relapse into tighter lockdown restrictions, causing another pause in house-to-house visits, it seems increasingly likely that the tradition of Trick or Treating isn't going to be feasible.
It'll be bad news for retailers, with some £400 million being spent by Britons last year on Halloween, according to The Guardian.
Notable Halloween festivals, including the Paisley Halloween Festival in Scotland, have already been cancelled, with more expected to follow.
It also places a question mark over the Christmas markets that come to most major towns and cities in the UK yearly. Birmingham, which has recently returned to stricter lockdown conditions, has already cancelled its festive markets and tihere are fears more will follow suit.
Whatever happens, though, it's hard to see how people will be able to celebrate Halloween in the same way they're used to. For children who've already lost out on Easter this year, too, it's going to come as a bitter blow. Unfortunately for them, a pandemic doesn't really care whether you get your fill of chocolate in a year or not.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay
Topics: UK News, Coronavirus, halloween, Health