Guidelines on how to safely hit the streets for trick-or-treats seem to be calming some families' fears about Halloween celebrations during the pandemic.
Suggestions on how to have a safe Halloween from the Government of Saskatchewan range widely. They include everything from using tongs for handing out candy, to letting trick-or-treat spoils sit for 72-hours before digging in.
Pam Vukman, a Regina resident with twin girls, was thrilled when it was announced the Halloween tradition was going ahead.
"I'm excited for them that they get to go out," she said of her five-year-old daughters. "They would have been so sad to not be able to go trick-or-treating."
Vukman, who is also president of the Regina Parents of Multiples Association, said this year's trick-or-treating will likely be a smaller excursion, mostly to the homes of friends and families.
But even with the additional precautions, the spooky holiday is likely to produce smiles at her home.
"When you're five, that's one of the biggest things of the year," she said.
The association usually does a trick-or-trunk event for Halloween, but due to COVID-19 they've opted for a two-day scavenger hunt families could do at their own pace instead.
However, she's confident that if everyone follows the rules, Halloween 2020 will be a spooky, and safe celebration, noting she'll be ready with a bag of pre-bought decoy candy for her daughters while they wait for their gathered treats to be sanitized.
Alongside guidance for trick-or-treating, the government also outlined best practices for other Halloween favourites like haunted houses, where there will be one-way traffic and 10-minute buffers between each group.
Other Regina families say they're skipping the tradition this year for safety reasons.
Tiffanny Farnell says her two children, 11 and 12, were understanding about not trick-or-treating this year, as they are on the cusp of outgrowing the October event. However, she said safety wasn't her only concern.
"Because of the restrictions, it's not worth it to hand out candy and they may walk blocks just to find a house that will give them a little candy bag," she said.
She also worries some of the guidelines will be lost in the potential hustle of Halloween.
"For the trick-or-treaters themselves, they're always running around on the sidewalks and running up pathways," she said. "They don't necessarily care who is in front of them, they just want that candy."
She has also heard from people inside of her circles that there is some hesitation to participate in the event due to the amount of work needed to ensure candy is handed out safely.
"It's probably an 80/20 scenario where just most people don't want to deal with it," she said, noting it seems backwards students in some schools have to wear mandatory masks while the government is allowing people to go door-to-door.
"It just doesn't make sense to me," she said.
Halloween trick-or-treating isn't the only autumn activity that has been affected by the Government of Saskatchewan's guidelines.
At least one Saskatchewan Autumn favourite has shuttered for the season as the Happy Hollow, a corn maze and family farm located in Lumsden, has closed for the season due to COVID-19.
"After another consultation with Sask Health Authority, they have now recommended new Covid protocols we would have to implement," the business said on its Facebook page."With also being told that this could change into even stricter rules going forward. This would severely compromise the experience our visitors have come to expect and enjoy at Happy Hollow."
The Happy Hollow indicated on the Facebook page it's looking ahead to provide a better experience in 2021.
Thelma Snow is a long-time resident in Saskatoon.
While she feels some are going overboard, she's planning to use tongs to give out candy and follow the guidelines released by the province. She's looking forward to welcoming trick-or-treaters in roughly a month's time.
"We've had so much taken away from us, and this is one opportunity where we can actually distance, see people and get some joy in our life," she said.
She's not worried about her safety.
"We don't need to be paranoid, we need to be careful," she said. "There's a difference."