Serge Guenette

COVID-friendly trick or treating in Ottawa


Halloween celebrations are fast approaching and the day is looking a little different than most years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With Ottawa back in a modified Stage 2 and its accompanying restrictions — including recommendations from Ottawa Public Health that we not go door-to-door on Halloween — we must consider how our families can safely trick-or-treat and modify our plans to create new and unique traditions for the family to enjoy within our social bubbles.

If you are looking for ways to stay safe while celebrating with your family, here are some Halloween ideas that can take the place of trick-or-treating.

  1. Halloween hunt: Similar to an Easter egg hunt, turn trick-or-treating into a Halloween-themed hunt around your home. Hide candies or small pumpkins for the kids to find and enjoy.

  2. Virtual competitions: Host a virtual Halloween-themed competition with friends and family through online video services like Zoom or FaceTime. Compare costumes, house decorations, and scary stories all through video chat to safely celebrate with those around you.
  3. Carve pumpkins: Nothing says Halloween more than carving scary pumpkins. As a household or social bubble, decorate and carve pumpkins to place around your home. For spooky stencils to use, check out Better Homes & Gardens 39 Free Pumpkin Stencils.
  4. Halloween movie marathon: Spend the evening having a scary movie marathon with your family. Turn the lights off, grab some candy, and watch Halloween classics for the evening.
  5. Virtual haunting at home: Haunted Walk of Ottawa has created a virtual interactive audio experience, The Haunting at Home, that features ghost stories and paranormal fun. For this experience, you’ll need two to eight people within your inner circle or household, two hours to complete the full activity, and a few miscellaneous items listed on the Haunted Walk website. This is a great activity for families interested in scary fun.

If you were hoping to get outdoors and allow your child to have a trick-or-treat experience while still keeping safe, check out the Pumpkin Hunt in Alta Vista .

Instead of handing out candy, this neighborhood (Alta Vista Drive and Kilborn Avenue) is putting on a pumpkin hunt for trick-or-treaters. Homes in the area are encouraged to place a pumpkin in their windows. When children pass by a house that has a pumpkin visible, parents or caregivers of that child can “hand out” candy to them before continuing on in search of the next pumpkin. This makes certain the candy the child receives has come from their own household, giving them a contactless trick-or-treating experience.

Maybe your neighbourhood is planning something, too?
Have a safe Halloween everyone!