A COMMUNITY group has come up with a new way to celebrate Halloween amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Templars Community Association, in Witham, will be encouraging residents to take part in a spooky trail instead of knocking on front doors for trick or treating.

Around 20 households on the Templars estate have already agreed to decorate their homes on October 31 and it is hoped dozens more will take part.

Families will be encouraged to go and look at the decorated homes before heading to the association’s office, where members will be handing out sweet treats to youngsters.

Residents are also invited to submit their own decorated pumpkins, with the best being chosen and announced by town mayor Clare Lager.

The winners will be revealed during the socially distanced gathering at the association’s office.

Acting secretary Louise Howard said: “A lot of people are worried about Halloween so we wanted to come up with something which meant everyone could still celebrate it.

“There’s a great community spirit on this estate and we’ve already had a lot of interest in taking part.

“Trick or treating just isn’t going to be possible with the restrictions but we wanted to make sure people had something to look forward to.

“It’s been a hard year for everyone and we have a lot of key workers living on this estate who have gone above and beyond during the pandemic.

“They’ve been balancing home-schooling with working extra hours so we want to give something back to them.”

The plans for the October 31 event are also being supported by Morrisons supermarket, as well as newsagents such as Premier Express and Nisa, with all three donating sweets to the event.

Organisers are appealing for businesses to get involved too by donating prizes for the pumpkin carving competition.

The event forms part of a bid to reinvigorate the Templars Community Association, which was first set up to serve the estate in 1984.

Ms Howard added: “We’ve lost a bit of momentum in the last four years so we’re trying to get more organised again.

“This Halloween event will be a bit different but we’re hoping it will bring a bit of normality to people’s lives at the same time, because it would be sad if we didn’t celebrate it.

“Hopefully it will be a success and we can run more events in the future.

“We’re already planning for Christmas and running a house-decorating competition so we can light up the estate.”

Details of the Halloween event can be found on the Templars Community Association’s Facebook page.

You can also email info@templarscommunityassociation.org.

The handing out of sweets and awarding of prizes for the pumpkin carving competition will take place between 6pm and 8pm.