Things change so quickly in the COVID-19 era that it’s hard to know if this will still be the case in two weeks. But as of mid-October, the federal has said trick-or-treating is on this year — if it’s done safely.
In a news conference on Tuesday, chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam and deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo both said they think Halloween doesn’t need to be cancelled this year, as long as people observe public-health rules.
“In my opinion, it’s an important day for kids, and we should hold on to significant occasions,” Njoo said. “I’d encourage people to keep celebrating Halloween, while making sure to keep up with public-health measures.”
He stressed that physical distancing, wearing a mask, and frequent hand-washing are the three most important ways people can keep from contracting the virus.
“I think that if those measures are ensured, we can have Halloween,” he said.
Tam said it can be a challenge to find the balance between maintain some degree of normalcy and also staying safe. But as long as people are careful, wear masks and don’t get too close to one another, it should be relatively safe, she said.
“I think trick-or-treating outside, with the right distancing, pre-packaging [candy], giving treats, so that people aren’t rummaging in a bowl of candy, is important,” she said.
She has been encouraged by creative ideas she’s heard people talk about, she added.
“There’s some really interesting ideas where people are handing out treats on the end of a hockey stick, or using a pool noodle to tell your kids how far they should be standing apart from each other,” she said. “Wearing a mask — sometimes you can use different fabrics to turn it into part of your costume.”
It’s also important to check local public health rules, Tam said. Amos and Rouyn-Noranda, two cities in western Quebec, announced earlier this month that they won’t be allowing any trick-or-treating.
Njoo said he thinks Canadians will be able to make the necessary changes to safely enjoy 2020-style trick-or-treating.
“I think Canadians are resilient, and they’re good at adapting,” he said. “We even adapted our traditions for Thanksgiving — we saw a lot of creative solutions, like with laptops and virtual celebrations. I think it’s possible to give candy and to receive candy in a safe way.”