Big parties, indoor gatherings, and close contact with neighbours are out, but there’s no shortage of activities — that comply with public health measures in place to stem the spread of COVID-19 — for those in the London, Ont., region this Halloween.
However, no matter how you plan to mark the scariest weekend of the year, you’re reminded to: practice physical distancing with those outside your household, wear a mask when necessary, and wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. More information on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 can be found on the Middlesex-London Health Unit’s website.
In the London and Middlesex region, many businesses and organizations are offering unique ways to celebrate with movies, drive-thru events, and fundraisers for kids and adults alike.
- Hyland Cinema will be playing some Halloween-themed films for kids and adults on Friday and Saturday with drive-in showings of Ghostbusters on Friday and Casper and The Shining on Saturday.
- Museum London will hold a continuous outdoor screening of Frankenstein (1931) from 7 p.m. Saturday to 7 a.m. Sunday.
- The Mustang Drive-In has a variety of Halloween films scheduled to play on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday including classics for the whole family like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and Hocus Pocus, as well as truly frightening films like Halloween (2018) and The Purge.
Alternative trick-or-treat events
- Budweiser Gardens is hosting a Candy Cruise drive-thru event from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
- Westmount Shopping Centre is hosting a drive-thru fundraising event with National Service Dogs from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday that includes trick-or-treating for kids and dogs as well as an online costume contest.
- Cherryhill Village Mall is inviting people to trick-or-treat only at stores with signage indicating participation. It runs from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and anyone attending is reminded to practice physical distancing and “avoid crisscrossing through the mall.”
- Covent Garden Market is hosting a Halloween event from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday where kids can hunt for a small cut-out pumpkin in the Mezzanine, organizers say “once you find it you get a treat bag!” There are 100 treat bags available. They also have a photo wall set up.
- Lambeth United Church is hosting a drive-thru event from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday where kids can show off their costumes and get some candy.
- Delaware Tirecraft is hosting a “trick-or-treat drive-boo” from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday where they say they’ll be offering kids individually-wrapped treat bags. Attendees are asked to R.S.V.P. so they can plan accordingly.
- F45 Training St. Thomas, Family YMCA of St. Thomas Elgin, and Bulk Barn St. Thomas are hosting a Halloween Helmet Hike on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in support of the foundation #lidup4branden, recently formed in memory of Branden Pettit to “support helmet safety and education, helmet donations to those in need and brain injury support.” Attendees are asked to wear a mask for registration and when closely passing others. To promote distancing and smaller groups, people are also encouraged to hike in their own neighbourhoods and use the hashtags: #lidup4branden, #helmethike, #helmetsarecool and tag @lidup4branden and @f45_training_stthomas.
- Live music will be on offer from Reverend Freddie and the Distillers at Richmond Tavern from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, hosted in partnership with Hard Core Country Radio Western FM 94.9 CHRW Radio.
- Eldon House is hosting gourd painting on its grounds from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
- The London Public Library has provided everything you need for a self-guided ghost walk.
- You can organize your own drive through the London region to check out some of the best-decorated homes using Global News’ Halloween Map.
Earlier this month, the health unit also shared guidelines, designating potential Halloween activities as “safe,” “use caution,” and “unsafe” amid the pandemic.
“We’re not telling people not to trick-or-treat. It’s definitely something that will have some degree of risk associated with it but there are ways of making trick-or-treating safer,” medical officer of health Dr. Chris Mackie said on Monday.
“Partying during Halloween is the biggest risk. It would definitely be in the ‘red zone, do not do it’ sort of area. Indoor parties are a great way to spread COVID-19 — we’ve seen that over and over.”
— With files from Global News’ Jaclyn Carbone