Halloween is back! Here's what to do in Montreal this weekend

·4 min read
Quebec’s Ministry of Health says kids can look forward to trick-or-treating this Halloween, but there are still sanitary protocols and recommendations to follow.  (Ivanoh Demers/CBC - image credit)
Quebec’s Ministry of Health says kids can look forward to trick-or-treating this Halloween, but there are still sanitary protocols and recommendations to follow. (Ivanoh Demers/CBC - image credit)

Halloween is around the corner and, after the spooky holiday was dampened by the pandemic last year, Montrealers are gearing up for an extra special evening Sunday.

Those looking for a thrill might consider heading over to Dorval where Patsy Clarke is offering a horror-filled tour through her yard, where there is everything from graves, coffins, demons, skeletons to witches.

"The kids can come and pick their treats out of the coffin," she said. "And we have a human rotisserie."

Visits will be free all through the weekend from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., but donations will be accepted for the Sainte-Justine hospital foundation — a Montreal children's hospital.

Clarke said the haunted tour has been a passion of her family's for many years.

"With time, it's just taken on a life of its own," Clarke said, noting even her kids, ages three and five, are a bit scared to walk through the yard these days.

"We have to reassure them every morning that nothing is turned on."

Haunted yard in LaSalle

LaSalle resident Joey Cuscuna has done something similar, first getting the idea about eight years ago. It's been growing ever since.

This year, he paired up with The Lighthouse, Children and Families. The organization provides pediatric palliative care services to children and offers services to their families.

Antoni Nerestant/CBC Montreal
Antoni Nerestant/CBC Montreal

Visitors to his Pilon Street home can expect mummies, goblins, ghouls and a graveyard that comes alive. It will be open from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

"The whole community started getting involved. My neighbours are there every single night and it just got bigger and bigger," he said. "It's a community thing more than anything else now. People expect it."

There are animatronics, live entertainment and a "giant maze" through his backyard, he said.

Pumpkin trail in NDG

Cuscuna said the displays can be a bit frightening for young children, so those looking to tone down the fear factor might consider heading to Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Park in the city's west end where a pumpkin trail will light up the night once again.

Alexandre Teodoresco, a member of Rendez-Vous NDG that works to boost community spirit, started the tradition just last year as a an alternative to trick-or-treating.

Rendez-Vous NDG/Facebook
Rendez-Vous NDG/Facebook

The group invited people to decorate pumpkins and put them on display in the park and, he said, it was a hit.

People are registering in advance to participate and "everybody is showing off their pumpkins already on social media and we are really happy about this," he said.

People can stop by the park before or after trick-or-treating and see a wide array of carved pumpkins.

Health measures still in effect

Quebec's Health Ministry says kids can go trick-or-treating this Halloween, but they shouldn't just be worried about bundling up against the cold and making sure they are visible to motorists.

There are still public health protocols and recommendations to follow to prevent transmission of COVID-19.

For starters, the ministry says people with symptoms of COVID-19 — or those in quarantine — should stay home.

For those who do not show symptoms and who participate in the collection and distribution of treats, remember that caution is always in order to limit the risk of the virus spreading.

The ministry has issued a list of safety recommendations for trick-or-treating children:

  • Do not enter the houses.

  • Don't sing or shout in front of people giving candy.

  • Keep at least one-metre distance between people.

  • Disinfect or wash hands after collecting treats.

As for those distributing candy, they should be prepared in individual bags to limit contact when handing them out.

The risk of infection transmission is especially high at indoor parties. Currently, the limit is still 10 people from different addresses in a private home. Having more than 10 is allowed, but only if they are from just three different households.

If the gathering is outside, 20 people from different addresses are allowed to get together, with physical distancing highly recommended.

Wearing a mask is strongly recommended for those who aren't adequately protected against COVID-19, the ministry says.

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