Hand-washing, no yelling 'trick-or-treat': Quebec offers up pandemic Halloween rules

·2 min read

MONTREAL — Quebec kids are being asked not to yell 'trick-or-treat' as they go door-to-door for candy and to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer handy this Halloween.

The province's Health Department today published a list of guidelines to help celebrate the holiday safely amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Children are advised not to enter people's houses, to refrain from singing and yelling, to wash and sanitize their hands and to try to keep one metre of distance from others whenever possible.

The province is asking adults to hand out candies in individual bags and to respect the 10-person gathering limit when it comes to parties.

This year's rules are less stringent than in 2020, when Premier François Legault banned all adult Halloween activities and told families they could only trick-or-treat with members of their own households.

But despite the improving COVID-19 situation, the government says it's still important to be careful and for those with symptoms to stay home.

"For those who don't show symptoms and who participate in the gathering and distribution of candy, remember that caution is still in order to limit the risks of spreading the virus," the Health Department said in a statement.

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted some Canadian cities to ban trick-or-treating altogether last year, and led many families to come up with creative solutions such as using candy chutes to pass out treats from a distance.

Quebec allowed trick-or-treating to proceed but banned adult celebrations, prompting Legault to say that Halloween was "only for kids."

While the province chose not to cancel Halloween, there is some precedent for postponing it.

In 2019 several cities in the province, including Montreal, decided to ask citizens to delay Halloween by a day due to a heavy rainfall warning.

The announcement was ignored by some parents who decided to proceed, leading to some lucky children getting two days to collect treats instead of one.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct 22, 2021.

Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press

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