Halloween celebrations look a little different this year, but can be festive nonetheless
Spooky season is looking different this year with an ongoing pandemic across the country. In Ontario, several regions including Ottawa, Peel, Toronto and York are now in the modified Stage 2 public health designation. People living in those regions are not recommended to go trick-or-treating this year.
Instead, families are encouraged to celebrate Halloween in their own household with activities such as a candy hunt, carving pumpkins or a movie night.
“We’re trying to make it as safe and simple as possible, my friends, we all know this isn’t going to be a regular Halloween,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
Hamilton is currently a Stage 3 public health unit region and trick-or-treating is not prohibited, but people are asked to take extra precautions. This includes limiting gatherings to those within a household, washing hands or using hand sanitizer, only trick-or-treating outdoors and wearing a face covering even if a costume mask is already present.
For those living in Stage 3 public health unit regions, please take extra precautions & follow #PublicHealth advice to ensure you are keeping yourself & your families safe as you begin to prepare for #Halloween this year. #HappyHalloween https://t.co/eXAwIUuTz6 pic.twitter.com/cVVevwGmlV
— Ontario Ministry of Health (@ONThealth) October 19, 2020
Those who are handing out treats are also encouraged to take certain steps to stay physically distanced, such as using tongs to hand out treats. However, leaving treats in a bucket or bowl outside of the door for children to grab on their own is not advised.
For many McMaster University students, this change in Halloween festivities is a lost opportunity to celebrate with friends in person. However, several faculty societies and clubs have taken the opportunity to hold virtual celebrations instead.
The iSci Society transitioned its typical coffeehouse to an online platform. Hosted on Oct. 28 via Zoom, the society invited students to perform and share their talents. This includes performances such as singing, dancing, performing an instrument, slam poetry or a comedy act.
The Humanities society is doing a series of October events, including Halloween movie watching on Zoom every night from Oct. 26 to 30. On Oct. 30, the society is also offering private five-minute psychic readings via Zoom.
UNICEF McMaster is a club that represents the non-profit organization, UNICEF, to support various issues such as healthcare, nutrition and education. The club typically runs an annual Halloween fundraiser where each participating class donated money to see their professor dressed up in a costume during their lecture. This year, UNICEF McMaster is continuing this tradition by inviting professors to dress up for virtual classes.
Thanks #MacIntroPsych students for supporting @UNICEF and for selecting my Halloween costume. Note to self: it's not easy lecturing with an itchy moustache and using a slide advancer wearing oversized gloves. https://t.co/hZVUEwEP1W pic.twitter.com/nUY84veYZ5
— Joe Kim (@ProfJoeKim) October 29, 2019
From Oct. 23 to 31, the MSU Food Collective Centre is doing a trick-or-eat food collection event. Donation bins are placed at three drop-off locations in Hamilton including: TCBY in Westdale, Williams Fresh Cafe on Main Street and the McMaster University Student Centre. The service is collecting non-perishable food items to support local food banks. Folks who would like to donate but are unable to access the drop-off locations can also contact the service via email for other options.
Aside from online methods, folks can also find other ways to safely celebrate by going to outdoor events such as corn mazes or pumpkin patches. Although different from a typical year, Halloween in 2020 can still be celebrated in creative, fun and safe ways.
To learn more about the restrictions required of each public health stage or find out what stage cities are currently in, visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/reopening-ontario-stages.