Some of the costumes that have come by Kate Matthews house at Halloween
Some of the costumes that have come by Kate Matthews house at Halloween

TRICK OR TREAT: How to stay safe, keep local and have fun

WELL-KNOWN local face painter Kate Matthews is a bit of a fan of Halloween.

Dressing up in her best witch outfit with her kids, she said she might even enjoy it more than her kids

“I’ve been working on my cackle for a few years now,” Ms Matthews laughed. “The kids love it, although some of the little ones are too scared to come to the door – I never break character.”

Kate Matthews gets right into the spirit of Halloween
Kate Matthews gets right into the spirit of Halloween

But as NSW Health released their guidelines for keeping Halloween COVID safe this year, Ms Matthews is urged parents in an open letter to keep the event local this year.

“Last year I noticed more families were arriving by car, and rather than walking door to door, they were driving door to door,” she wrote.

“ I reckon we had double the number of kids on the year before and this is no doubt due to folks who are driving around. And even though we were really well stocked with lollies, we ran out twice.”

Ms Matthews said that despite regulations, she expected this year to be even bigger, and buying lollies to treat often a few hundred kids doesn’t come cheap, and urged people to think about households whose income has been hit by the pandemic, including hers.

“This has been a tough year for everyone, including kids. They’ve missed out on a lot of social activities. School excursions have all been cancelled. Halloween is one day to look forward to, and families need to have fun together,” she said.

“Let’s make some great memories for the kids, and be friendly to your neighbours.

But PLEASE, parents, if you’re planning to visit a neighbourhood that isn’t your own, consider that you may be one of many doing the same.

“ If your neighbourhood doesn’t do Halloween, maybe you should be the one that starts something local at your house.

“Whatever you do: don’t drive door to door.”

Some of the costumes that have come by Kate Matthews house at Halloween
Some of the costumes that have come by Kate Matthews house at Halloween

Ms Matthews said that unless there was a disability to prevent walking, get out and walk with your kids and enjoy the atmosphere, which you couldn’t get from a car.

NSW Health has issued a set of guidelines for a safe trick-or-treating experience, and they echo Ms Matthews message of keeping the occasion local.

Their list of guidelines for participants includes:

  • Keep it local by staying in your suburb rather than going to well-known “treat streets” that attract crowds
  • Celebrate outside, don’t go to people’s front door
  • Stay in small household groups (for example a supervising adult and children from the same household) rather than groups of young people together. Remember, no more than 30 people can gather outside in a public place
  • Stay 1.5 meters away from people you don’t live with
  • Only take treats that are individually wrapped
  • Use a disposable bag to collect your treats, and dispose of it appropriately afterwards
  • Don’t share your treats with others from different households
  • Don’t share costumes or costume face masks
  • Carry hand sanitiser with you and use it often, especially after touching common surfaces.
  • For those who are giving out treats, they have this list of guidelines:

  • If you are self-isolating, don’t answer the door to trick-or-treaters
  • Make it a frontyard event, not at the front-door of your house. Keep your celebrations outdoors and get creative in decorating the front yard
  • Only hand out individually wrapped treats
  • Don’t use communal lolly bowls. Consider other ways of distributing treats such as hanging them individually on your fence, front gate or up your driveway
  • Offer hand sanitiser at your front gate or fence
  • You may wish to avoid people knocking on your door by putting up a sign that says “We are home but due to COVID-19, we are distancing. Please take one, Happy Halloween”
  • Remember, you can only have 20 people on your property at one time.