Every year since our family first moved to Musselburgh, we have all looked forward to and enjoyed the guising tradition in the town.

This autumn, we were busy planning with neighbours for a ‘Covid-compliant’ Hallowe’en – which of course meant adhering to the Scottish Government’s guidelines and the oft-repeated admonitions to maintain two-metre distancing, to wear face coverings, and not enter others’ houses.

On the face of it, none of our other community celebrations would seem less harmless than small groups of young children wearing costumes including face coverings and standing outside neighbours’ houses. In a nutshell, Hallowe’en could have been tailor-made for these times of Covid.

So how can it be that our politicians at Holyrood find it necessary to issue “clear guidance” against traditional Scottish guising? It is not at all clear to me which aspect of the town’s Hallowe’en could possibly contravene official advice and regulations.

For an administration that has prided itself on a consistency and clarity of messaging over the last six months, this latest from our Deputy First Minister feels a little spooky.

Chris Askham