November 26, 2020

While COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the Waterloo Region, families have had to rethink trick-or-treating this year. 

Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, stated in a briefing that there is no need to cancel Halloween this year, as long as trick-or-treaters respect the new realities of the pandemic. With this statement from Canada’s top public doctor, many families have been faced with difficult decisions regarding their participation in this Halloween custom.

According to Leger and Association for Canadian Studies, 52 per cent of Canadians will not let their children trick-or-treat amid the COVID-19 pandemic and think governments should step in and cancel Halloween this year.

Ginny Boivin, Kitchener resident, is among parents who are not allowing their children to trick-or-treat this year.

“This decision was very hard as our children really enjoy trick-or-treating,” said the mother of two. “We feel it is unnecessary exposure and as much as we hope everyone is doing their part to be safe, we don’t know for sure that they are.”

Although Boivin and her family will not be trick-or-treating this year, she has planned alternative at-home activities for her kids.

“We are all going to dress up, play Halloween games, watch Halloween movies, eat popcorn as well as chocolate bars and candy,” said Boivin. “Just because we have chosen not to participate in door-to-door trick-or-treating, doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate and enjoy Halloween.”

While some families are choosing to stay home, others have decided to go out. Deborah Carvalho, a mother of two, is allowing her children to participate in trick-or-treating this year.

“We are big on Halloween,” said the Cambridge resident. “We try as a family to keep things normal even though it’s anything but.”

Carvalho and her children recognize the concerns of trick-or-treating amidst the pandemic and they are taking various precautions to remain safe on Halloween night.

“We are only going out with dad and the kids … no friend hookups,” said Carvalho. “We will all be wearing masks with our costumes and keeping our distance when approaching homes.”

Although Halloween is less than a week away, some families are still debating the door-to-door tradition. Ashley Gubler, a Kitchener resident, is undecided about letting her two daughters participate in trick-or-treating this year.

“I know they love Halloween and would really like to go trick-or-treating but I’m just not sure if I want them going door-to-door getting candy from people outside of our social bubble,” said Gubler.

She has weighed the pros and cons of both going out and staying in. While Gubler wants to make her kids happy, she is also concerned about their safety and with Halloween fast approaching, she feels pressure from her children to make a decision. Her daughter Abby Gubler, 8, is hoping her mother allows her and her sister to go trick-or-treating this weekend.

“I love Halloween,” said Abby. “You get to dress up and be whatever you want to be and you get lots of free candy.”

While trick-or-treating is not recommended in COVID-19 hotspots such as Toronto, Ottawa, Peel or York Region, there has yet to be a recommendation against Halloween in the Waterloo Region. 

Regardless of the contrasting decisions being made by local residents, many families in the region are aiming for the same thing. A fun and safe Halloween night.

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