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Halloween in Calgary: Communities ghoul the extra mile despite COVID-19

Kids in many Calgary’s neighbourhoods will have plenty to scream about after some community associations decide that they won’t let them go without candy this Halloween.

Community associations in northwest Calgary have created alternative events and have put safety measures in place to make sure that everyone has a spooktacular time this year.

The Hawkwood Community Association made it a priority to continue their annual Halloween Extravaganza. With COVID safety restrictions, of course.

And they’re expecting an influx of kids.

“We wanted to do something that we could do, even if our (event) numbers shot up,” said Heather Kovach with the Hawkwood Community Association (HCA).

“Our focus is being safe and socially distant.”

With many events and traditions being cancelled across the city this year, Kovach said that cancelling Halloween festivities would be a “gut punch.”

But that nightmare has been avoided.

Following traditional Halloween celebrations, the association is also putting together a candy map of the neighbourhood.

“There are definitely people in the community that want to give out candy and are excited to give out candy,” said Kovach.

“That’s one of their favorite things to do.”

The community association wanted to avoid the disappointment of kids looking down the street and not seeing any house lights on.

The candy map is going to help parents find areas and streets within the community for their kids to collect candy. The map will note who’s handing it out and who isn’t.

Community spirit

Just down the hill from Hawkwood, a neighbouring community is doing something similar.

Ranchlands community association (RCA) and some volunteers have come together and created a “trunk or treat” event for the kids.

“As much as we wish we could have the normal games, crafts, treats and more, we just knew that wasn’t in the cards,” said the RCA.

Their event is going to be a lineup of parked cars with candy in the trunks for kids to collect. They’re focusing on making it safe for everyone.

“We are limiting touch points, contact tracing, social distancing trunk displays,” they said.

“There will be one-way traffic flow.”

Tube or Treat!

Earlier this week, CEMA Chief Tom Sampson reassured Calgarians that Halloween will not be cancelled. He gave some innovative advice for handing out candy.

“I love Halloween, and handing out candy safely,” said Sampson.

“What I’m going to do is use a chute like this,” he said, referring to a wrapping paper cardboard roll.

Sampson then demonstrated how he will pass candy to trick-or-treaters with Mayor Naheed Nenshi. Mayor Nenshi, in his Halloween costume, was dressed as none other than the Chief.

Nenshi said that Halloween is one of his favourite holidays. He said he will be going as his favourite superhero this year – Chief Tom Sampson.

He provided his own advice on staying safe during Halloween.

“Make sure you stay in your ‘booble’,” said Nenshi.

“And if you’re sick, stay home and don’t be a jack-o’ lantern.”

CEMA Chief Tom Sampson demonstrating how he will be handing out candy to trick or treaters with Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who will be dressed as Sampson for Halloween.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, also said there’s no need to cancel Halloween this year.

But, it’ll look different.

“I have no plans to suggest that Alberta cancel Halloween this year,” Dr. Hinshaw said at a recent COVID-19 briefing.

“My own children would never forgive me.”

The province did outline several things families can do to make sure trick or treaters (and candy handers) stay safe.

You can find that list here.