Morgan Bell
Morgan Bell
February 26, 2021

Hallowe’en Festivities During a Pandemic

Jack the skeleton wearing a mask | Illustration by Jules Keenan

Door-to-door trick-or-treating has been approved in New Brunswick this Hallowe’en, as long as cities stay within the yellow phase. Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Jennifer Russell has given the public a rundown on how to carry out the tradition this year. 

“Hallowe’en and Thanksgiving may look different this year but, with some planning, people can enjoy these special occasions safely – cleanliness is key,” Russell said. 

When passing out candy or going door-to-door, people are advised to be consistent with hand washing and sanitizing. High touch areas, like doorknobs, are important to keep clean, and face masks should be prioritized over a costume mask. 

Individuals passing out candy are encouraged to offer non-treat toys (pencils, erasers, crayons, etc.). Bowls of candy should not be offered due to the high contact needed to receive the candy. Preparing individual treat bags would be the best option for avoiding contact amongst the children.

For those not comfortable with passing out candy this year, Dr. Russell suggests putting signs in yards advertising these views; for example: “Happy Hallowe’en, no visitors please.”

Although there are rules to follow this year, that does not mean the holiday can’t be enjoyed. 

“Kids are very excited, they’re glad it’s not cancelled. They’ve all been talking about their costumes,” said Lynette Brewer, who operates a daycare and afterschool program on Fredericton’s northside. 

Childcare services have changed drastically since the pandemic has taken over. Centres have a more rigid cleaning routine; kids cannot share communal toys, and classes do not interact with one another. 

“We’re going to have to be extra careful, take the kids' temperature more often, and watch for symptoms closely for the two weeks following Hallowe’en,” Brewer explained. 

Although trick-or-treating has always been a door-to-door activity, ideas have emerged on different ways to participate. Parties with a maximum of 50 guests and Hallowe’en parades are highly recommended. 

Brewer plans on taking her daughter to a family party, as well as trick-or-treating in their neighbourhood. She plans on taking extra precautions when going out. 

It’s important to stick to one neighbourhood when trick-or-treating and keep track of where you go. People are easily able to keep track using the COVID alert app.

People with medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer should avoid participating in Hallowe’en activities. People who are at a high risk should be avoided by trick-or-treaters for several days after.

As Moncton and Campbellton have returned to the orange phase, door-to-door trick-or-treating has been cancelled for its residents. Woodstock decided on a unanimous vote to not allow door-to-door, and the rest of New Brunswick’s cities are able to proceed but should do so with caution.

“The kids would like to go trick-or-treating in the neighbourhood, as we usually do, but I don’t think I am comfortable. We’ve talked about doing a Hallowe’en party with one or two families...” said Deanna Brown, a mother of two in elementary school who is trying to decide how to handle Hallowe’en this year.  

Some families are less affected by the conflicting decision, such as that of Ericka Mallais who is a mother of two children, ages three and five. 

“We will probably just do our families' houses I’m guessing. Not that I’m against door-to-door but my kids are young enough, that will be lots of fun for them,” said Mallais.

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