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OUT OF LEFT FIELD: Halloweening happily despite Covid concerns - with a costume contest

Candy sticking is an innovative, creative way to allow for trick or treating in a safe, Covid-conscious manner. Photos by Wendy Reeves Winter.

Halloween is a favourite holiday for many locals (myself included), but Covid-19 has brought a chillingly real kind of fear to the festivities.

Does this mean we have to cancel Halloween altogether? Will this year be only a ghost of Halloweens past?

Not at all – but we do have to get more creative than we ever have before to keep it special. I can't tell you what the Covid-19 situation will be more than a month down the road, but I can tell you what I and some others I know are doing to make the day special while still being responsible in the face of a pandemic – including a costume contest to make sure dressing up is still spooktacular.

First of all, there will be no trick-or-treating at my house, and I think it behooves people to forgo this part of the occasion altogether. Residents are also legally prohibited from having large parties or gatherings. I considered leaving out a bowl of sanitized candy on the honour system, but had visions of a well-intentioned Little One getting a runny nose in the cold, wiping said nose with their hand and then reaching into the bowl and unwittingly contaminating the lot. I flatly refuse to be a vector for the virus in that manner.

So what to do?

Some parents are getting super-creative and doing up spooky scavenger hunts, much like Easter, but with a Hallowe'en lean. And perhaps my favourite of thoughtfully brilliant solutions is one passed on to me by my neighbour from a friend of hers, called candy sticking (see photo above, which I took from a Facebook post by a stranger named Wendy Reeves Winter. I don't know her, but I deeply admire her ingenuity!).

I know for my little Bubble, there will be pumpkin carving and decorating and lots of effort to elevate our eerie, followed by a family movie night of Halloween greats like Beetlejuice and The Mummy (there are so many to choose from, regardless the age range of your audience), and a treat-style dinner like pizza or loaded nachos or somethign of the sort.

The bummer for me in that is that my favourite part of Halloween, even more than the candy, was dressing up – but what's the point of getting all decked out in dreaful duds if there's no one to see you? (Worth noting - a costume mask does NOT work as a substitute for a cloth mask).

To that end, The Castlegar Source and The Trail Champion will be launching (one in each community) the Cutest/Creepiest Costume Contest on our Facebook pages. Kids and parents can upload photos ranging from adorable to terrifying on our contest thread (NOT on this thread, please), and the readers will decide the winner by giving them the most likes.

Canadian 2 for 1 pizza restaurants in both cities have generously offered to provide the prize – two large pizzas per winner for a fun at-home Halloween.

The contests will go live a little closer to the big day itself.

Halloween should be fun-scary, not stupid-dangerous-scary, and I hope this helps people enjoy the holiday while still respecting our pandemic reality and restrictions.

Have any innovative, cool ideas to share? Please, feel free to comment!

Have a spectacular, safe and spooky Halloween, everyone!