Trick-or-treating in the Ottawa Valley during the COVID-19 pandemic

ARNPRIOR — Halloween and trick-or-treating were still on in the Ottawa Valley on a crisp Oct. 31, despite a global pandemic.

Many were doing their best to make the day as safe as possible, and feel a bit of normalcy.

In Arnprior, Taylor Holmes and her husband devised the “Chute of Doom,” a candy chute running from their porch down to the sidewalk so that they could still hand our candy to trick-or-treaters.

“I felt like man this year sucks,” says Holmes. “And losing Halloween too would kind of suck more. I just thought there’s got to be a way to make it safe and still fun.”

Holmes and her husband will be sitting out on their porch Halloween night with gloves and masks on, using tongs to pick the candy out of the box and send it down their Chute of Doom.

Chutes and slides seem to be the preferred method in Arnprior, with Edward Proulx constructing a ten-foot slide on his front yard amidst his Halloween landscape.

“Well it’s important just to keep everything normal, back to the normal,” says Proulx “And to see the kids come by checking the stuff out is pretty cool.”

Proulx’s yard in Arnprior is covered corner to corner with Halloween decorations; it’s his family’s favourite holiday. Proulx is also happy with the street he picked to live on, saying it’s one of the busiest in town with upwards of 300 trick-or-treaters stopping by on any normal Halloween night.

This year, he’s not expecting so many kids, “I would think anything over 50 would be pretty good,” says Proulx.

Trick-or-treating is also an option to families in Carleton Place, but for those uncomfortable with the idea of going door-to-door, the town created an alternative.

“We know there’s a lot of houses that are really well decorated, so we created a scavenger hunt,” says Jessica Hansen, Community Programmer with the town. “Our intention was to create some sort of event that families could do amongst themselves just to bring a little bit of joy to Carleton Place.”

The scavenger hunt can take families to 100 different houses throughout the town, solving clues and seeing spooky and spectacular decorations.

“We kind of got the sense that a lot of families were a little uncomfortable doing the traditional trick or treating this year, so we wanted to find a fun alternative that you could do within your family bubble,” says Hansen.

Amy Maklowych was out in the mid-afternoon with her family trick-or-treating in Carleton Place, hoping to avoid any crowning.

“Up until earlier this week I was planning on a few houses, trick-or-treating at night. But then since the numbers are rising we’re just going to do it at our friends’ houses right now and then a movie later on tonight.”

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