Drive Thru Halloween and Virtual Party offers a socially distancing safe alternative

Ken Kellar

While Halloween night might not look the way it has in other years, the Fort Frances Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary Branch #29 and a host of other volunteers are making sure that kids 12 and under in the area still have access to a fun and safe night, full of candy, games and prizes.
The Legion Ladies will be hosting a special Drive Thru and Virtual Party on Halloween night in conjunction with the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre, The Fort Frances Kiwanis club and a number of other community groups. Organization on the event began late last month and Legion Ladies Auxiliary member Christina McDougall said that everyone is hard at work getting the night ready to go.
“It’s going really well,” she said.
“We’ve had quite a few businesses step up to sponsor, so our next step is just to get all the bags made. We’re getting there.”
The night in question will be like a scavenger hunt of sorts. Those who have registered their children on the event page before October 22 will be asked to begin at the library at 4:30 p.m. on Halloween night, where they will kick off their spooky quest.
“At the library, everybody will be given a piece of paper that tells them their route, so people will be going in different directions,” McDougall explained.
“We don’t want to tell everyone where their stops are, but there are six locations.”
At each one of the locations, volunteers will be on hand to distribute loot bags to the kids in vehicles. Each location features a different community organization that will be helping celebrate the holiday and include the Friends of the Library, the Watten Fire Department and Fort Frances First Responders, among several others.
McDougall noted that so far the event has seen nearly 200 kids registered, and with each stop planning to give out a treat bag to each child participating, the organizers and volunteers are expecting to make over 1,200 treat bags for the night.
Once each vehicle has reached the end of their particular path, the second half of the night is ready to begin. Each participant is invited to take part in the live Virtual Party that will begin at 7:00 p.m. on the Fort Frances Legion Ladies Auxiliary Branch #29 Facebook page. The party will feature two live games that will require those taking part to be the first to respond on the Facebook page, though McDougall said they won’t be letting anyone know what kinds of games will be played beforehand so everyone will start the games on equal footing. Prizes will be made available for the first successful participants.
The Virtual Party is also when prizes will be given out for the costume contest and best decorated car contest. In order to participate in those contests, parents are asked to take a photo of their kids in costume in front of their decorated car and to post the picture to the Facebook page.
“The idea is to take a picture of your child in front of your car so you only have to take one picture,” McDougall said.
Those heading out on the Drive Thru trail are also encouraged to keep an eye on their loot bags, as McDougall said a random handful of the bags will feature a special item that will win the lucky finder a prize later that night.
With so much of the community stepping up to either help out the event or take part, McDougall said they are hopeful that the night will be fun and successful for all involved and provide a good alternative to regular trick-or-treating, especially in our current uncertain times..
“I think it’s just a great way for the kids to get out and social distance, because you’re in your vehicle,” she explained.
“It’s just a great way to ensure everyone is social distancing, staying safe. All the volunteers will be wearing masks, so we’re hoping that the kids really enjoy themselves and we’re looking forward to playing some games online and giving out some prizes. We’ve got prizes of gift cards that are ranging from $10-25 per game. Our top priority is to keep everyone in Fort Frances safe on Halloween night.”