LETTER: Halloween Queen taking 2020 off due to COVID-19

Dear Editor:

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed a few weeks ago that Halloween 2020 is not cancelled due to the global pandemic (Sept. 9) and there will be guidelines that have not been released yet…but I don’t think that anyone except the Bowen locals can understand how big Halloween in our little community is!   

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On Halloween night I usually have more than 500 local people of all ages visit, as well as the 100 plus Halloween tourists who visit each year in addition to the up to a dozen Halloween characters haunting my yard for trick or treating and Halloween fun! Halloween has always been my favourite holiday and I’ve been helping out with Halloweens on Bowen for decades. But there’s never been a Halloween like this one before. 

 I did some research to try to help me make a decision about Halloween at my place and the BC Centre for Disease Control website says: “At this time, event organizers are ordered to limit all public gatherings larger than 50 people. This includes indoor and outdoor seasonal fairs, sporting events, conferences, meetings, concerts, theatres, religious gatherings or other similar events. A new order for Gatherings and Events was issued on September 18, 2020, with information for banquet halls, events in public and private spaces…” 

 So, I’m afraid that if I open my gates on Halloween night for trick o’treating that I will be considered an organizer or participant in an outdoor seasonal event at a private space that will attract over the allowed participants; that I will not be able to control, or track participants and I’ll end up getting fined, or worse: potentially negatively impact the need to flatten the curve. 

  I just can’t see a way to follow provincial COVID guidelines at my place on Halloween, so I’ve made the difficult decision to keep my gates closed this year and to not hand out candy and am going to entirely take a year off from organizing or participating in any of the elements of the usual Bowen community Halloween activities. 

 Halloween will not look the same this year.  

The Volunteer Fire Department will likely also issue a statement soon, but it is my understanding that there will not be fireworks this year. 

 Of note: there is a new Halloween Task Force that B.I. Community Recreation has organized that has been working on things, see its story on p. 1. 

Be kind, be safe, and please respect each other’s individual decisions as we figure out new ways to safely celebrate the spirit of Halloween on Bowen Island.

Sarah Haxby 

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