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OPINION: Ask strangers for candy from a distance

The Henry Hype

During the many hours spent alone during the lockdown, my mind wandered to how holidays would be shaped by the coronavirus.

Would we be able to visit our extended families during Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas? Could adults party hard in bars during New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day, and Canada Day? It didn’t seem possible for a while.

Halloween was the one that made the most sense that it was doable, even though the main activity of the day sees kids knocking on stranger’s doors and demanding candy lest they do a trick on the homeowner. Most people are wearing masks and social distancing is doable and encouraged during the day.

When Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, emphasized that Halloween would be going ahead this year, with COVID-19 measures in place, I don’t think I was the only one who gave a sigh of relief. It meant there would be some semblance of normal in the crazy year that’s 2020 for kids, who may still be struggling to figure out what made things turn upside down.

“I have no plans to suggest that Alberta cancel Halloween. My own children would never forgive me,” Hinshaw said during a press conference on Oct. 2. “In many ways, I believe it is actually safer to celebrate than other holidays. Most Halloween activities take place outdoors and largely within one family. However, we need to make it as safe as possible to celebrate this year.”

Youngsters will be able to dress up as their favourite superheroes, cartoon characters, or anything they like to head out during the evening on the day that so many look forward to.

Whether or not people will be handing out candy is completely up to them, but I’m hoping enough will share their Halloween spirit to make sure kids have a candy stash to hold them over until Christmas.

We just have to be mindful of things and remember to be safe.

Looking both ways before crossing the street, having your mom or dad check your candy before eating it, and making sure you stay with your group won’t be the only rules followed this Oct. 31.

Hinshaw encouraged people to keep their trick or treating within their cohorts or families within their own communities and that costumes should allow for a mask to be worn underneath. Creative ways of handing out candy were suggested, along with the treats being pre-packaged and not homemade. Candy slides or catapults were some suggestions offered by the province.

Using hand sanitizer after touching services was advice given to those heading out for candy and to avoid touching doorbells or railings. 

Anyone feeling sick or ill was encouraged not to participate in the festivities, which I hope a lot of people will keep in mind.

I hope everyone enjoys the spooky season this year and you’re able to do it safely.

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle