About 700 children are expected to pass through the Powassan Fire Department on Halloween.
After being cancelled last year because of COVID-19, the fire department is back with its Halloween Safe Haven, where the volunteer firefighters have decorated their meeting room with various Halloween themes.
Paula Lamb, a municipal employee and member of the firefighters ladies auxiliary, says after the ghosts and goblins take in the decor, they're given a candy bag filled with goodies.
Additionally, members of the community will be preparing Rice Krispie squares, sugar cookies and hot chocolate for the kids and their parents.
The Halloween Safe Haven has been going on for 20 years in the community.
It was the paramedics with Emergency Medical Services who first came up with the idea.
But EMS had only so much space and Lamb says the paramedics partnered with the local fire department because the annual event began attracting more children.
Lamb recalls about 50 children took part in the first Halloween Safe Haven and over the years more kids began attending with their parents.
Nowadays, kids not only from Powassan take in the event, but children also come in from Trout Creek, Chisholm, Nipissing and Restoule.
Lamb says it's not only the kids who get dressed up.
“A lot of the time the parents also come in wearing costumes,” Lamb said. All the candies that are handed out are strictly from community donations.
On the Friday leading up to Halloween, Lamb came into the fire station with her husband Barry and they began to prepare all the potato chips, chocolate bars and other candy for sorting and bagging.
There were dozens of boxes in the meeting room of various candy which easily amounted to $1,000 in goods.
“We got all this through the generosity of our community,” Lamb said.
“It was people, businesses and neighbours. And we've been doing this now for so many years that even when we don't advertise the event people drop off candy at this time of year.”
Saturday morning volunteers were in the meeting room decorating it in time for Halloween Safe Haven which takes place from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday at the fire station.
Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget