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‘Keep it local, keep it small’: Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice for trick-or-treating during pandemic

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With Halloween fast approaching, many parents in B.C. are getting ready for a much different trick-or-treating experience.

A Kelowna mother of four-year-old twins, Kyla Cameron said her goal “is to give the girls a little bit of normalcy still.”

She continued, saying “so yeah, we’re getting the costumes, I’m just going to do a little scaled-down Halloween.”

Read more: Halloween to go ahead with restrictions in Quebec amid coronavirus pandemic

Cameron said she wants to keep everyone safe, but, at the same time, like many parents, doesn’t want to deny her young children from enjoying the occasion.

“I’ve talked to a lot of moms about it,” said Cameron, “Just wondering kind of what the recommendations are, or what we should do.”

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Speaking at her regular Thursday news conference, B.C.’s top doctor, Bonnie Henry, said it is still possible to trick-or-treat safely as long as recommendations are followed.

“Keep it local, keep it small,” Henry said.

Henry recommended children stay in their local neighbourhood and trick-or-treat in very small groups.

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“If children are going trick-or-treating, then they need to be one or two, not the group of 10 or 15 that may have happened before,” Henry said.

“We really don’t want people crowding together, so parents that are going with their kids, keep it small.”

Henry also offered advice to those who still plan on handing out treats. She said this, too, can be executed in a safe manner.

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“We don’t want kids digging in a bowl. We don’t want to bring them into the house,” she said.

“If you’re going to have candy, set it up outside. Find a place where you can put a table out and have individual packages that children can pick up.”

Read more: 52% of Canadian parents won’t let kids trick-or-treat amid coronavirus: poll

She also said there are other creative ways to consider distributing candy to trick-or-treaters.

“I saw some really innovative things, some people using a hockey stick, which is, of course, very Canadian. Or a slide tube in the children’s bucket, so I think there’s lots of things that we can do to keep those distances,” Henry said.

At the Calowna Costume store in downtown Kelowna, the Halloween season is a lot quieter than normal.

“We’re probably down about 60 per cent,” said Calowna Costume owner Kerri Brandel.

“It’s really sad, because I know people love to dress up, they love to have fun. A lot of people really look forward to this time.”

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The family business has been operating for about 40 years, but never seen a Halloween season quite like this.

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“I think people are unsure. Usually, the big parties are happening; those aren’t happening,” Brandel told Global News.

“People are resorting to smaller murder mysteries, bonfires in the backyard, more of a family kind of gathering.”

Brandel said she hopes people still decide to dress up and support her business, even if it means dressing up to mark the occasion at home.

“Just dress up. Have fun because everybody loves Halloween,” Brandel said. “We want to be able to still celebrate … just do it safely.”

Click here for more ideas on how to mark Halloween safely.

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