THE Tyne Valley has always embraced Halloween in many different ways.

From trick-or-treating to full-scale organised events, children and families always get into the spirit of the occasion.

This year will be different, however. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Hexham’s long-established Spook Night will not be taking place.

But despite the well-publicised government restrictions which are in place, Catherine Lynch, of education experts PlanBee, has devised a plan to enable youngsters to celebrate Halloween in a Covid-safe manner.

She said: “Halloween 2020 is going to be a bit different to previous years. Groups of children putting their hands into several bowls of communal sweets now feels like something from another life.

“But we can incorporate dressing up, community spirit, an evening walk and trick or treating while observing social distancing.”

Catherine said that if families struggled to find an organised Halloween trail locally, they could take part in their own, instead of going trick-or-treating.

She added: “Take your children on walks around your local area and see how many Halloween pictures you can spot.

“You could give your child the chance to pick a treat from your own selection each time they spot a picture on the Halloween treasure hunt.

“And while you’re at it, a short guide to the history of Halloween will ensure you can answer any questions your youngsters might have about the origins of this popular autumn celebration.”

According to Catherine’s history guide, it all started with Samhain, an ancient Celtic pagan religious festival that marks the end of the harvest and the start of winter. The celebrations included lighting bonfires and wearing costumes to ward off ghosts. This festival is thought to date back to Neolithic times, pre 2500 BC.

In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III decided November 1 should be a time to honour all saints. The evening before All Saints Day was known as All Hallows’ Eve, and later Halloween.

Catherine added: “Over time, Halloween became the more commercial and secular celebration we have today that includes trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, wearing costumes and eating treats.”

Hopes are high that regular celebrations, including Hexham Spook Night, will make a welcome return next year.

Here we have included a selection of photos from recent years, which will hopefully evoke fond memories of previous Spook Night events in Hexham.