With Halloween looming large on the horizon, enterprising individuals are still taking it upon themselves to offer a fun and COVID safe way for families to enjoy the spookiest holiday of the year.
Alicia Leany is a recent transplant to the Rainy River District and Emo in particular, having arrived with her husband and children less than a year ago, and she’s taken it upon herself to give those living in Emo an alternative to a traditional door to door Halloween experience. From 2:00 p.m. until roughly 4:00 p.m. on Halloween day, families will be able to go to the Emo Arena parking lot and partake in a trunk or treat styled event.
“In the past, before we moved up here, I’ve successfully run a Trunk or Treat,” Leany explained.
“So it’s going to be something very similar, where people are going to come and park their vehicles, but because of COVID they’re going to have to stay in the vehicles and keep that proper two metre COVID distance.”
Leany, originally from Havelock, Ont., said that the event will have individuals set up ahead of time in order to distribute candy and other treats to those who come to the parking lot. Anyone wanting to give out candy or other treats is being encouraged to come up with a fun and safe way to give out their goods in the light of social distancing.
“I am asking for people who are coming to hand out treats and goodies to come up with a really fun way to deliver them to the kids,” Leany explained.
“For us, my son just got a racetrack for his birthday so we’re going to hook the racetrack to the back of our minivan, and after we walk around, we’re going to slide our treats down the racetrack. So that’s kind of how it will go.”
Those wishing to hand out candy at the lot will arrive before the 2:00 p.m. start time, and Leany said she’s approached all of the businesses in Emo to ask if they are interested in taking part, or even donating goodies for others to hand out on their behalf, something she said she’s done in the past.
“I do have a couple of people, especially teens, who have reached out and said ‘I’d like to help, but what can I do?’ she explained.
“So for people who do want to give me a box of candy for these teens to hand out on their behalf, I’m good with that too.”
While part of the drive to put this event on in Emo comes from the concerns surrounding COVID-19 and how to safely hand out candy in a traditional door to door Trick or Treating scenario, Leany said there’s also a consideration for accessibility, which makes the location of the Emo Arena parking lot an excellent choice for those children who might have problems climbing stairs.
The early running time for the event also ensures that younger kids can have their fun without staying out too late, and older kids with parents who are comfortable with them going out trick or treating still have time in the day to do so.
Leany said she also encourages participants who want to give out goodies at the event to bring more than just candy, citing the Teal Pumpkin Project which aims to have alternatives treats on hand for children who can’t have candy for any number of reasons, such as allergies. The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages households to have things like stickers, crayons or other Halloween themed toys or goodies to give out instead of candy or chocolates.
In order to participate on either end of the event, Leany is asking parents and volunteers to visit the “Emo Halloween 2020” Facebook page and comment on one of the posts whether you are wishing to volunteer, or how many kids you will be bringing.
“Right now I’m up to between 40 and 50 kids registered online, including my own four. We’ve got about 15-20 families coming, which is a big deal,” she said.
“I do recommend people coming to start watching the Facebook page because right near the end I’m going to be giving a number and people don’t want to run out of candy or treats and goodies.”
Leany said she has consulted with a public health inspector, who she says has given the event the green light, as long as there are fewer than 100 people in the parking lot at any one time.
As for those who might still be unsure what their Halloween will look like this year, Leany said she encourages everyone to do what they are most comfortable with.
“I would tell them they need to do what they feel is best for them in their situation,” she said.
“If somebody isn’t comfortable handing out and opening their doors in a standard trick or treat, by all means, get a PVC pipe from the hardware store to chute candy down to the kids. That’s been the recommendation by public health, to get a PVC pipe and to do that, and to find a really fun way to do it. This is a really unique experience, I know a lot of people are decorating their houses, but it’s really neat to be decorating your car and decorate a racetrack or tube of some kind and make it fun.”
Still, Leany said she’s hoping to see many families and kids in costumes come out to the event to take part and have an enjoyable Halloween afternoon.
For more information and to register for the event, visit the Emo Halloween 2020 Facebook page.