Halloween proceeds in frightening times with public health measures in place

“The seeds will grow in Peter’s magic pumpkin land/And he will thank you for lending him a hand/A candy surprise awaits when you wake/For all the pumpkins you helped Peter make,” a rhyme released by the county reads.

Farther west, artist Paul Magnuson is taking over a downtown self-serve car wash for a now-sold out drive-in “horror experience” dubbed Scare Wash.

Movie-lovers in areas where theatres are allowed to be open can venture out to Cineplex for a $5 flick, ranging in scariness from “Hotel Transylvania” to “Hocus Pocus” to “The Conjuring.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has suggested that he’ll do an indoor Halloween scavenger hunt for candy with his kids.

Laura Sanchini, the curator of craft, design and popular culture at the Canadian Museum of History, said Halloween is inherently social in nature, one of the “visiting traditions” that also include mummering — a Christmastime activity still practiced in Newfoundland.

“We’re going to be missing that this year, a lot of people,” she said.

But there are other aspects of Halloween that can be experienced from home, Sanchini said — namely the supernatural traditions that date back to early Christian beliefs about the Celtic Pagan tradition of Samhain.

“Halloween is kind of a time of magic, a time of divination, a time of supernatural beliefs and events,” she said. “I think that you can have that in your house with your immediate family.”

She suggested telling scary stories or playing with a Ouija board.

As for Rogers, he said the furor over protecting Halloween traditions appears to be part of a broader trend of minimizing the pandemic’s effects.

“I don’t think people are facing up to it. And it’s come to a head with Halloween really, in a way,” he said. “Halloween registers that kind of dynamic: how reverential, how honest about the pandemic do you want to be, or are you going to pretend it isn’t there?”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 30, 2020.

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