Coronavirus pandemic spoils Halloween for Napanee, Ont., pumpkin carver

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WATCH: COVID-19 keeps Napanee pumpkin carver from showcasing her skills to school students – Oct 29, 2020

Talk about a case of not knowing what you’ve got till it’s gone.

For years, expert pumpkin carver Diane Irwin has been invited into local schools to pass along her knowledge.

This year, however, COVID-19 has made sure that isn’t happening.

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The Napanee, Ont., artisan understands, but she says it’s still tough.

“It was my fun time; October was my favourite month because of pumpkins,” Irwin said. “Because it was an opportunity not only to share your carving skills but share that information as well.”

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Irwin blames COVID-19 for robbing her of Halloween and pumpkin carving. She’s always been welcome in various classrooms around the area at this time of year, but in 2020, it’s a whole new ball game.

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The bottom line, she says, is she misses the students.

“Normally by this point in time I would have been booked for either today or tomorrow to have carved pumpkins with hundreds of kids, and I have missed that,” Irwin said.

“Kids would bring their own pumpkins in and I’d work with each group at a time and it was lots of fun. And I discovered lots of people that had talent that they didn’t even know they had.”

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Scott Gillam, the associate superintendent of Safe and Caring Schools Program with the Limestone District School Board, says only essential personal are allowed in schools at this time.

“We appreciate everybody that has done this in the past and we sure hope that we can get them back in the school’s sooner than later,” Gillam said, “but it all depends on how this pandemic pans out.”

Irwin hopes this is just a one-year hiatus and things will return to normal for Halloween 2021.

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