COVID-19 is scary, but don’t let it stop you from enjoying Halloween in Victoria

Editorials Opinions

Instead of having a Monster Mash, put on your Monster Mask

pumpkin wearing a mask

Across the city, our trees are beginning to molt into shades of maple and ochre. The days are getting shorter and midterms are looming menacingly around the corner. 

What all this means is that the second spookiest event of the year — other than paying your tuition and looking at your bank account balance — will soon be amongst us: Halloween. Soon kids will be rushing off to pick out their costumes, while parents try to find time to go to a pumpkin patch and buy candy for their neighbourhood trick-or-treaters. 

Halloween in Victoria will look a little different this year due to the continued COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, there are still many safe and probably healthier ways to celebrate the fall’s premier holiday, as well as other fall celebrations like Thanksgiving.

While trick or treating for kids can remain mostly the same, some of the more adult celebrations of the season simply cannot take place. For some of us, it’s usually the time of the year to dress up in slightly-too-revealing outfits and wake up in the morning in someone else’s bathtub. This year, join us in not throwing any house parties on Halloween. 

Instead of partying, one option is to take the spooky activities outdoors, and meet with fewer people. With some weather-related luck or perhaps some layers, Halloween could be an opportunity to view a scary movie on a projector outside. 

Picking pumpkins is safer as it generally takes place outdoors, and can still serve as a fun activity for friends and family. Just be careful to avoid overly packed fields, though most places should already be limiting the number of people at one time. 

Galey Farms, which is within biking distance of the university, encourages visitors to buy tickets online in advance. Their regular corn maze, pumpkin patch, train, and haunted houses will be operating this year with safety protocols in place. 

If you’re in the mood for a stunning autumn bike ride (or have access to a car or bus pass), follow the Lochside Regional Trail to Michell’s Farm for a u-pick experience, or even further to the Saanichton Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch.

If you’d like to stick closer to home, Victoria Ghostly Walks will kickstart their special Halloween walks starting on Oct. 9 and will run until, and on, Halloween night. Tours must be booked online, and there are protocols in place for preventing the spread of COVID-19. The tours take place downtown and highlight stories that the tours tell regularly, as well as spooky seasonal tales. The tours include a blend of history, true crime, and paranormal. There are multiple tours per night, so there are a lot of opportunities to hear ghost stories and get into the Halloween spirit in Victoria.

For those with little ghouls and goblins in their household, this halloween will be disappointing. The days of trading candy with other kids, running between houses on your block, and knocking on neighbours doors are a relic of our pre-pandemic past. Trick-or-treating, in some form, can still take place. The BC Centre for Disease Control recommends that parents incorporate a mask into their child’s costume as an added layer of protection. It is best to keep the number of kids in one group to a small number or have kids go trick or treating with their immediate family only. While this won’t make for a very enjoyable experience for those trick or treating, it will ensure that they stay healthy enough to devour their candy over the coming weeks, assuming they don’t eat it all in a single night. 

Those on the other end of the trick or treating process can also do their part to keep kids safe by laying their candy in a line outside instead of making kids knock on the door or wearing a mask while handing out treats.

Even though it might require a little extra creativity and planning, it’s still possible to have a fun and safe Halloween season this year. No matter your age, with some commitment (and maybe a few bottles of hand sanitizer), it’s possible to have a ghoulishly festive time.