Virtual pumpkin carving and trick-or-treating now Halloween's new normal

·3 min read

Under the funding support from Red Cross, and after a long term of preparation, Parent-Child Baking Online program launched by Community Engagement and Family Support (CEFS) Centre has started from August.

A big Halloween party was supposed to mark the end of the 14-week program, however, York Region announcing back to Stage 2 on Oct. 19 has brought their plan down.

“For safety reasons, we have decided to cancel the event at Swan Park and switch to a virtual one,” said Susan Li, president of CEFS Centre.

“Everyone was disappointed,” Li admitted. “We’ve done a lot of work for this final event. All parents, children and volunteers were looking forward to it. But during these uncertain times, people understand.”

On Oct. 21, CEFS Centre distributed the first batch of pumpkins and carving tools to some families at one of their volunteers’ home. Some kids can’t wait to start carving pumpkins as soon as they get them.

“We prepared about 100 pumpkins, baskets and tools for more than 60 families and there will be a ZOOM session on Oct. 27 to teach parents and children how to create a spooky pumpkin lamp,” Li said.

Parent-Child Baking Online program aims to promote new activities to women and children of cultural minorities in the Greater Toronto Area, to keep them active and engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lots of parents and children have been participating and learning through the program. “Our amazing volunteers have made huge contributions, but we didn’t have a chance to see each other and say ‘thank you’ in person due to the pandemic,” Li added.

As Ontario government has made it clear that traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating is not recommended this year, and York Region public health suggests residents to host a virtual party to share costumes, CEFS Centre is not the only facility that has decided to move its activities online.

A local small business that teaches kids to code, Code Ninjas Richmond Hill is celebrating Halloween virtually as well.

Code Ninjas has built a virtual Trick or Treating experience inside the popular game, Roblox, to help ensure that families uncertain of how to safely Trick or Treat this year don’t miss out on the fun holiday.

This way all kids can still trick or treat with their friends. “We love Halloween, and we love kids, so we knew we had to develop the ultimate Trick or Treat experience that would take a difficult situation and make it a memorable and fun one instead,” said Adrien, Code Sensei.

The online event will begin on Roblox at 4:00 pm on Oct. 31st. Participation is free for this event and requires a free Roblox account which can be set up ahead of time. A computer or tablet is all that is needed to access the Roblox platform.

“Surviving a pandemic as a small business means shifting the focus from ‘selling’ to ‘serving’,” said Nan Lu, owner of Code Ninjas. “We have a shared responsibility to get through this together as a community, and for us, that means keeping kids happy.”

Sign up via the Event Sign up Form: http://bit.ly/CNRH-Halloween to gain access to the virtual Trick or Treating.

Scarlett Liu, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Economist & Sun