Halloween tricks give Norwegian police a busy night

Halloween in Norway turned out to be just as much about the tricks as the treats.

Halloween tricks give Norwegian police a busy night
Kids react to 'The Halloween House' in Nordberg. Photo: Terje Pedersen/NTB Scanpix
Across the country, police were kept busy responding to everything from egg-throwing to candy thieves. 
While one serious Halloween-related incident was reported near Trondheim, where a teenage boy attacked a woman with a knife and axe, the majority of Monday night incidents were more in line with typical teenaged pranks.
In Buskerud, Hurum, Trøndelag and Gjøvik, reports came in of houses being egged and vandalized, while Drammen youngsters targeted a kiosk with fireworks and kids in Hokksund threw a smoke bomb at their school.
And in Sortland, Halloween took a sad turn for two nine-year-old boys who had been out trick-or-treating. 
“Two older boys found them at Lamark school, pushed them and stole their candy. One boy was pushed and fell into a ditch, resulting in an injured knee and wrist. We are not impressed by the older boys' behaviour. They should be ashamed of themselves,” police in Midtre Hålogaland wrote on Twitter. 
Other ‘tricks’ went even farther. In Porsgrunn, it was reported that youths were jumping out in front of cars while South Trøndelag police said that a twelve-year-old child was frightened by someone dressed up like a clown and armed with a baseball bat. 
Agder police said it was also a busy evening there. 
“Halloween-related reports have been ticking in to police. Mask-clad people who shot with paintballs and threw stones at buses. Setting things on fire and aiming an air gun at police. It is, to put it mildly, not particularly good,” Agder police tweeted. 
Meanwhile, one Stavanger woman was left thinking that no good deed goes unpunished. While handing out candy to costumed children, she accidently tossed her car keys into a kid’s candy bag.  Police said she was hoping to get them again and urged the unlucky recipient to return them. After all, the kid would probably prefer swapping the keys out for candy. 
Monday’s Halloween celebrations also marked the end of an era in Oslo. The ‘Halloween House’ in Nordberg decided that after 14 years of scary fun for neighbourhood kids, Monday would be the last celebration at what is likely the capital’s scariest house. 
“It simply takes too much time. It has become too big, and it's time to go out on top,” homeowner Kåre Mortensen said. 
For 14 years, Mortensen been notorious for the maze he builds every year for Halloween and the elaborate and spooky Halloween decorations outside of his house. 
During the evening, many neighbours stopped by to thank him for the many years of fun provided for the kids in the neighbourhood.

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Norwegian minister says kids can celebrate Halloween with classmates

Norway’s education minister Guri Melby says it is okay for children to mark Halloween this year despite the social restrictions currently in place due to Covid-19.

Norwegian minister says kids can celebrate Halloween with classmates
Illustration photo. AFP

Melby commented on Halloween at a press briefing on Thursday reported by Norwegian media including Aftenposten.

Increasing cases of coronavirus in parts of the country have resulted in new national measures aimed at reducing the spread of the virus and local restrictions are in place in Oslo and Bergen.

The national measures include a limit on social gatherings, meaning that a maximum of five friends or family may be invited to any private gathering.

Exemptions to this rule apply for children of kindergarten age and school children who are hosting Halloween or birthday parties – they are allowed to invite more than five friends.

Melby reiterated this exemption for kids in comments to the press, and said it was important to keep such celebrations within normal class or friendship groups to avoid leaving anyone out, according to Aftenposten’s report.

“I sympathise with teachers and other staff who think it’s hard to find solutions. But also with young people who will have a boring autumn,” Melby said.

The approach contrasts with neighbouring Denmark, where authorities have advised against traditional Halloween celebrations. Denmark currently has a nationwide assembly limit of 10 people and more Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations than Norway.

The exemption only applies to young children, however. Secondary schools (ungdomsskole) and further education (videregående skole) are not allowed to have extended Halloween parties.

Bjørn Guldvog, director of the Norwegian health authority, said that children also do not need to observe social distancing rules and that parties can take place for children from the same group or cohort. The health official also stressed the importance of including children who might find themselves otherwise left out.

READ ALSO: Norway registers second-highest daily total of new Covid-19 cases