Canada Halloween proceeds in frightening times with public health measures in place
Halloween proceeds in frightening times with public health measures in place
TORONTO — As spooky season reaches its climax in a particularly frightening year, some historians argue the COVID-19 pandemic offers an opportunity to explore a different side of Halloween. The holiday has no fixed meaning and has been celebrated differently over the centuries, so there's a deep well of traditions to draw from -- including some that honour the dead, said Nick Rogers, a professor at York University who wrote the book on the history of Halloween. The holiday is linked to Mexico's Day of the Dead, which has some of Halloween's celebratory spirit but is also a day to remember loved ones who have died.
TORONTO — As spooky season reaches its climax in a particularly frightening year, some historians argue the COVID-19 pandemic offers an opportunity to explore a different side of Halloween.
The holiday has no fixed meaning and has been celebrated differently over the centuries, so there's a deep well of traditions to draw from -- including some that honour the dead, said Nick Rogers, a professor at York University who wrote the book on the history of Halloween.
The holiday is linked to Mexico's Day of the Dead, which has some of Halloween's celebratory spirit but is also a day to remember loved ones who have died.
Families prepare for pandemic-era Halloween with public health restrictions in place
TORONTO — Canadians may be putting the final touches on their costumes and digging into their candy bowls like every other year, but the country is plunging into a Halloween unlike any before. Many families will forgo trick or treating Saturday on the advice of public health officials wanting to quell the spread of COVID-19 in hot spots, while others in provinces with fewer cases of the virus will head out for the annual festivities while donning masks and keeping their distance. The patchwork of recommendations has some Canadians dreaming up new ways to mark the holiday with candy scavenger hunts or using chutes, pipes and tongs to pass out treats.
"Halloween is about everything you want to avoid in a pandemic. It's about scaring us. It's about risk-taking. It's about inversion," he said. "...In a way, Day of the Dead is a much better holiday for addressing these things."
Officials across the country have said that those who want to celebrate Halloween will need to make sacrifices -- of varying degrees, depending on location -- in order to keep their loved ones safe.
Those in some COVID-19 hot spots have been urged to forego trick-or-treating altogether, while others in regions with few cases are being told to keep their parties small.
For instance, in Quebec -- Canada's COVID-19 epicentre -- children will be permitted to trick-or-treat with members of their own household, but adults can't celebrate in groups.
Fewer Canadians to hand out Halloween candy, trick or treat this year, poll says
A new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News found just 19 per cent of Canadians said they will be handing out Halloween candy this year, with many choosing to forego other holidays such as Christmas and birthdays altogether. "One of the things that we see consistently in the polling is whenever anybody is going to be confronting a stranger, their fear goes up when it comes to dealing with COVID-19," Bricker said.
"This year, Halloween is only for kids," Quebec Premier Francois Legault said earlier in the month.
British Columbia's top doctor has also ruled out massive Halloween bashes, saying families need to keep gatherings to their immediate households and their "safe six," though trick-or-treating is still a go.
Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador have given trick-or-treating the green light as well, so long as people keep a physical distance from those not in their household.
Meanwhile, Ontario and New Brunswick are taking a regional approach to holiday regulations, barring trick-or-treating in hot spots.
"COVID sucks. What can I say, it's terrible,'' Premier Doug Ford said earlier this month, as he announced the rules. "We need to work together this Halloween to protect Christmas.''
For those outside the coronavirus epicentres, Ontario's government has created printable posters that read "Welcome trick-or-treaters" or "Sorry, see you next year."
Celebrities Are Getting Into the Halloween Spirit With Some Scary-Good Costumes
Everyone knows Halloween is all about the creative costumes, and our favorite celebrities are giving us plenty of inspiration this year.
And southwestern Ontario's Norfolk County is encouraging kids to take up a new tradition with their parents -- burying pumpkin seeds from Jack-o'-lantern carving on Oct. 30 for someone named "Peter Peter Pumpkin Treater," and then drawing a smile on the dirt to "mark the spot"
"The seeds will grow in Peter's magic pumpkin land/And he will thank you for lending him a hand/A candy surprise awaits when you wake/For all the pumpkins you helped Peter make," a rhyme released by the county reads.
Farther west, artist Paul Magnuson is taking over a downtown self-serve car wash for a now-sold out drive-in "horror experience" dubbed Scare Wash.
Movie-lovers in areas where theatres are allowed to be open can venture out to Cineplex for a $5 flick, ranging in scariness from "Hotel Transylvania" to "Hocus Pocus" to "The Conjuring."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has suggested that he'll do an indoor Halloween scavenger hunt for candy with his kids.
Laura Sanchini, the curator of craft, design and popular culture at the Canadian Museum of History, said Halloween is inherently social in nature, one of the "visiting traditions" that also include mummering -- a Christmastime activity still practiced in Newfoundland.
Centennial High students making sure kids get Halloween treats safely
Teacher Cecilia Anne Coyne issued a challenge to students in her two Secondary One English classes at Centennial Regional High School: Design a device to distribute Halloween candy safely during a pandemic — and then give an elevator pitch to fellow students describing it. From a pulley fashioned from a repurposed clothesline and a tricked-out hockey stick to a small battery-powered car that delivers treats, the students at the South Shore school delivered. Their ideas were “inventive, impressive, creative and fun,” Coyne said this week. The COVID-19 pandemic means this will be a very different Halloween.
"We're going to be missing that this year, a lot of people," she said.
But there are other aspects of Halloween that can be experienced from home, Sanchini said -- namely the supernatural traditions that date back to early Christian beliefs about the Celtic Pagan tradition of Samhain.
"Halloween is kind of a time of magic, a time of divination, a time of supernatural beliefs and events," she said. "I think that you can have that in your house with your immediate family."
She suggested telling scary stories or playing with a Ouija board.
As for Rogers, he said the furor over protecting Halloween traditions appears to be part of a broader trend of minimizing the pandemic's effects.
"I don't think people are facing up to it. And it's come to a head with Halloween really, in a way," he said. "Halloween registers that kind of dynamic: how reverential, how honest about the pandemic do you want to be, or are you going to pretend it isn't there?"
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 30, 2020.
Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
'DWTS' Halloween Week: Who Earned the First Perfect Score? .
Dressed to impress! The stars transformed into their favorite Halloween villains during the Monday, October 26, episode of Dancing With the Stars. While the costumes were all about the fun, the stars took it very seriously — and it paid off. Nev Schulman and Jenna Johnson scored the first perfect score of the season with their dramatic paso doble, set to the theme song from Black Swan. However, they weren’t the only ones that impressed the judges over the course of the evening. After Johnny Weir and Britt Stewart landed lower than average scores last week, they were determined to get it back up this week — and did just that. “It was passionate and it was fluid,” Bruno Tonioli said after their Viennese waltz. Carrie Ann Inaba said that the pair floated through the routine “like a dream.” The rave reviews landed the pair three 9s. Chrishell Stause and Gleb Savchenko also impressed the judges, with Derek Hough calling their spooky paso doble their “best dance yet.” They earned two 9s and an 8 for their dance — their highest score this season. One pair that many were waiting for ahead of the episode was AJ McLean and Cheryl Burke. During their Sunday, October 25, rehearsal, the 36-year-old professional dancer fell hard and hit her head. “Yesterday, I took a hard fall while rehearsing for #VillainsNight. Even though AJ kills me at the end of this Tango, this wasn’t part of the routine,” the two-time winner revealed via Instagram on Monday.