Halloween is an exciting holiday for many. Dressing up and going trick-or-treating is a thrilling and celebratory escape for many Canadian families. Collecting insane amounts of candy and sharing it among friends is a tradition. However, this year Halloween will look differently. With a surge of Covid-19 cases in Ontario, many families, especially those in the GTA, are more skeptical about trick-or-treating. Heeding the government’s advice, some citizens are making their own decisions and getting creative.
If people go trick-or-treating, who is to say someone will open the door for them? Recently, areas in Ontario have regressed back to stage two, limiting social gatherings and events. With approximately 800 new cases daily, Canadians are incredibly anxious about going out in public settings. The majority of restaurants are closing dining spaces again, and small businesses are attempting to stay afloat. As a result, government officials recommend that families stay inside this Halloween to avoid risking infection.
Staying apart from others is very important for families in hotspot zones, such as the Peel and York regions. In a news release on October 19, Doug Ford stated his opposition to trick-or-treating. He said that despite the urge to party and celebrate, there must be restrictions. People have contradicted his motivational speech with the recent government-approved actions throughout Ontario. Why are young children allowed to sit in a classroom with over two dozen students, yet are not allowed to trick-or-treat with their families while maintaining social distancing measures?
Following Ford’s declaration of Halloween safety, many families considered alternative ways to celebrate the holiday. Some are looking to host a socially-distanced costume parade, with the only contact being between children and their families. This opportunity is available for smaller neighborhoods or those living in rural areas where cases are low. Other households are celebrating the holiday through virtual family costume contests or horror movie marathons.
Staying within your social bubble and keeping inside is the most reliable way to celebrate. Moreover, many organizations are providing safe events. Glama Gal, a kids spa business, is hosting a virtual Halloween costume gala. At UofT, the Family Care Centre is hosting a virtual Halloween workshop for families on October 29th. There are also many themed drive-thru rides in the GTA, such as at the Toronto Zoo or Bingemans park. While many families may be disappointed at the turn of events, parents are doing their best to create a Covid-19-friendly Halloween experience. As provincial officials have stated, there are multiple ways to celebrate the holiday without putting yourself or others at risk.
The urge to continue traditional Halloween activities is especially concerning for teenagers and young adults. Despite the precautions that many schools are attempting to uphold, it is impossible to stop students from holding off-campus events. When universities first reopened in September, Covid-19 cases rose throughout multiple hotspots in Ontario. One of these schools includes Western University in London, Ontario, where an off-campus party resulted in more than 30 cases. This reality leaves many concerned about how Halloween will affect the current rate of Covid-19 cases, especially at adrenalized party schools. At this time of crisis, students must be responsible and stay within their social bubble.
Currently, Ontario and Quebec have the highest number of Covid-19 cases, heightening governments’ concern toward Canada’s progress. After making some improvements in the summer, both regions are now back to where they started in April. Quebec alone stands with almost 100,000 cases, the majority stemming from Montreal. This spike justifies why trick-or-treating should be canceled in the province.
How is the rate of Covid-19 supposed to improve if people are not following infection prevention measures and government-implemented restrictions? Quebec’s government is encouraging citizens, particularly Montreal residents, to stay inside this year. In British Columbia, where cases are much lower, the provincial government is more lenient toward trick-or-treating. However, BC government officials continue to emphasize the importance of social distancing, even amid trick-o-treating. Yet, the novel coronavirus has proven itself unpredictable and is not limited by geography.
No matter how many rules governments’ implement, it is ultimately up to Canadian citizens to stay safe and responsible. We are all still adjusting to the “new norm,” which in itself will take a while to get used to. Celebrating this Halloween season from afar is ultimately the best way to stay safe and protected. While trick-or-treating and public events may be on halt this year, there are still multiple opportunities to have fun in a socially-distanced setting.