Celebrate autumn


Posted on22 Oct 2020

Whilst trick or treating and large firework displays will not be happening as usual this year, you and your families can still celebrate Halloween and Bonfire night. Below are a few ideas for celebrating safely this year.


Cook up some spooky treats – spider biscuits, gingerbread mummies, spicy witch broth or pumpkin soup. This Halloween, JRHT Catering Teams are cooking up some tasty spooky treats for residents living in care.

Below are a couple of spooky recipes which you could cook up with little witches or wizards (suitable for larger witches and wizards too)

Gingerbread mummies

COOKING TIME 10 - 15 minutes
PREP TIME 10 minutes, plus chilling
MAKES 10 biscuits

  • 125g plain flour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 50g golden syrup


Heat oven to 190C and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Sieve the flour, salt, bicarb, ginger and cinnamon into a large bowl. Heat the butter, sugar and syrup until dissolved. Leave the sugar mixture to cool slightly, then mix into the dry ingredients to form a dough. Chill the dough in the fridge for 30 mins.

On a surface lightly dusted with flour, roll out the dough to a ¼-inch thickness. Stamp out the gingerbread men shapes with a cutter, then re-roll any off-cuts and repeat. Place your gingerbread shapes on the lined trays, allowing space for them to spread. Cook for 10-15 mins, then remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Decorate with icing and experiment!

Pumpkin biscuits

COOKING TIME 14 minutes
PREP TIME 10 minutes, plus chilling

MAKES 20 - 30 biscuits

  • 200 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200 g white caster sugar
  • 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
  • 400 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting


In a large mixing bowl, use an electric whisk to cream the butter with the sugar until well mixed and just creamy in texture. Do not overwork, or the biscuits will spread during baking.

Beat in the egg until well combined. Add the flour and mix on a low speed until a dough forms. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 190°C, fan 170°C, gas 5. Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead briefly, then roll out to 3mm thick. Cut, by hand or with cookie cutters and then carefully transfer the biscuits to a baking tray lined with baking parchment or greased well.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, depending on the size of your biscuits, until golden brown at the edges. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool before getting creative with your Halloween decorations

Other Covid-safe ways to celebrate Halloween could be to decorate your front step or garden, hold a virtual scary movie night and take part in a walking tour of your street or community.

We would love it if you could share with us pictures of you and your families enjoying Halloween.

Pumpkin biscuits from Lisa Brett who works in the catering team at New Lodge

Gingerbread mummies from Sarah Travis who works in the catering team at Hartrigg Oaks

Bonfire night

Celebrating Bonfire Night this year may be a little different this year, but it is important that you and your families stay safe. If you are planning to use fireworks at home follow the firework code and to make it safe and enjoyable.

  • Don't drink alcohol if you are the person setting the fireworks off.
  • Only buy fireworks from registered shops who will be stocking items marked with BS 7114 or a CE mark to show compliance with European Standards.
  • In case of an emergency, keep buckets of water, garden hose, or a fire extinguisher.
  • Always supervise children around fireworks and never give sparklers to children under five.
  • Light all fireworks at arm's length using a taper.
  • Stand well back.
  • Follow the instructions on each firework
  • Never go back to a lit firework, it might explode.
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them.
  • Keep pets indoors

Be Mindful

Fireworks can be stressful for some people and animals. Please be respectful and mindful of those around you, particularly those with pets or who are vulnerable and may be distressed by loud fireworks. If you are planning on having a display, check in with your neighbours to see if they are ok with it. Have your display at a reasonable time. The law on fireworks is to not set them off after 11pm unless it is 5 November, in which case you can set them off up until midnight.

Follow the current COVID restrictions
As it is a rapidly changing situation and restrictions may change, please check the latest guidance on the restrictions before considering hosting a gathering to celebrate Bonfire Night. Please always follow the latest government guidance.

Be a good neighbour

Be a good neighbour by reporting concerns and keeping an eye out for neighbours

If you do have concerns about larger groups of children, young people or adults please contact your Housing Officer and get in touch with the Police Community Support Officer for your area by telephoning 101.

You can also help by keeping an eye out for neighbours. As the clocks go back and the nights draw in and we are all less visible out and about in our communities and it is very easy to forget to wave at someone shielding behind a glass window or give them a call.