It's quite likely that health bosses and council leaders fear the prospect of Halloween because they worry that trick or treating could further spread the coronavirus.

It only takes a few excited youngsters to crowd around a tub of Celebrations and the rule of six could quite easily be broken.

So it's not surprising that Oxford City Council is directing families towards 'safe' Halloween activities.

Read again: Oxfordshire Pumpkin Festival returns ahead of Halloween

Council bosses are emphasising that current social distancing guidelines still need to be followed during the Halloween festivities and that people should stick to the rule of six, maintain physical distance from people they don’t live with, and remember to stay two metres apart.

Oxford Mail:

And the council says residents should avoid trick or treating where treats are handed out and children go door to door; crowded costume parties held indoors or outdoors, or any gathering where there are more than six people.

Covid-19 can be spread by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus, as well as through droplets breathed in.

So if unwrapped sweets are left in a bucket for children to rummage in, with lots of hands touching the treats there is a risk the virus could spread from fingers to mouths.

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The council is also pointing out that people should not substitute their usual face masks with a Halloween mask as this will not keep them safe.

Oxford Mail:

Marie Tidball, cabinet member for supporting local communities, said: “We want encourage residents and families to enjoy their Halloween celebrations safely this year.

"There are plenty of fun and spooky activities that you can take part in, whilst also ensuring you are following the social distancing guidelines. It is important that we try to reduce the spread of the virus to help protect each other.”

The council has suggested people could:

•Get involved in the Big Neighbourhood Pumpkin trail

•Host a virtual Halloween costume party with friends and family

•Hold a Scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home

•Carve or decorating pumpkins to light up the doorstep or in the window

•Pumpkin pick at one of Oxford’s local farms

•Have a 'socially distanced Halloween dance party on your doorstep'

Oxford Mail:

•Host a virtual Halloween quiz

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•Have a Halloween film night with your household members

•Make a Halloween themed face mask/covering.

There are a number of places across Oxfordshire where you can head to buy pumpkins.

Locations include Millets Farm in Frilford near Abingdon and you’ll need to book online in advance.

Oxford Mail:

At Peach Croft Farm in Abingdon there is a range of ready-picked pumpkins available on bales outside the farm shop, with prices ranging from £3-£7 but it is not operating a PYO option from the field.

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The seventh annual Oxfordshire Pumpkin Festival is back, with events across the county encouraging people to eat – rather than throw away – their squash.

An estimated 12.8 million pumpkins are due to go uneaten this Halloween, with 18,000 tonnes of food going to waste.

But the festival, organised by Good Food Oxford, aims to tackle this problem by showing the squash's versatility.

Coordinator Nina Osswald said earlier: “Pumpkin Festival is a time we all look forward to a lot every year.

"What we’d like to see is that everyone in Oxford gets to taste the delicious pumpkins and squashes that are grown here, and appreciates their diversity.

Oxford Mail:

"There’s so much more than the uniform Jack-O-Lanterns we see in the supermarkets at this time.”

The festival kicks off with a pumpkin, squash and honey sale at Oxford City Farm in East Oxford today, while more markets will be held across the city over the next two weekends.