Halloween celebrations will go ahead in parts of the South Cariboo this year, with trick-or-treating in 100 Mile House and a bonfire and fireworks display confirmed for Interlakes Community Centre.
All celebrations, however, will be subject to COVID-19 protocols. The BC Centre for Disease Control broadly advises people to “celebrate less socially and trick-or-treat locally this Halloween,” such as skipping large Halloween parties, going trick-or-treating in small groups and getting creative in “making space” when handing out treats to children.
“As long as we go by the guidelines and people work with those guidelines, it should be okay,” 100 Mile Mayor Mitch Campsall said. “Instead of big groups coming to people’s doors, maybe have a bit of a lineup and try to keep your distance. Hopefully, parents are out with them and have hand sanitizer and what have you.”
Campsall also asked the public to respect those who may choose to turn off their lights and not participate in trick-or-treating this year as they may simply be concerned for their own health. His suggestion follows advice from BCCDC, which asks people who are sick or self-isolating to turn off their porch lights on Halloween night.
The BCCDC also suggests those giving out candy should wash and sanitize their hands often or consider using tongs to hand out candy or creating a candy slide out of cardboard to pour candy down into bags. Don’t leave candy outside in communal bowls and to only out hand out sealed, pre-packaged treats.
Campsall also suggests if people are giving out candy, it wouldn’t hurt to wear rubber gloves and a mask when interacting with trick-or-treaters. Most of all, he hopes people stay safe this year through social distancing, washing their hands and other common-sense practices.
Meanwhile, most Halloween events that would usually occur at this time of the year have been suspended or cancelled. Lone Butte Hall president Natalie Sass says that she and other members of the community hall are still trying to figure out a workaround but said they’ve been told they can’t do an indoor or outdoor event with more than 50 people.
“We are trying to get a hold of our grant people to see what we can do to change our plans but we have not gotten answers yet. Our hands are tied since we are trying to stay open as a community hall and to stay out of the banquet hall criteria, we have to stay within those guidelines,” Sass said.
As most of their events tend to be big social ones, Sass said they’re figuring out if they can hold any for the rest of year.
Interlakes Community Centre program coordinator Maggie Benzing said while they won’t be able to hold their indoor Halloween dance, they do plan to have a bonfire and their signature firework show at the community centre at 7 p.m. A concession window will be available serving free chilli, hot dogs and beverages and Benzing asks that people spread out and social distance while in attendance. Children will also receive baggies of candy.
“Last year we had the best fireworks show ever and we ordered the same fireworks this year so we hope it will be a splendid display again,” Benzing said.