The trick is on COVID-19 this Halloween.

In spite of the ongoing global pandemic, the Government of Saskatchewan has given the go-ahead for trick-or-treating to take place in the province Oct. 31 – with certain rules and guidelines in effect, of course. However, children in Loon Lake will have something a little different to look forward to when the scariest day of the year arrives in a little more than a week’s time.

“For more than 20 years now, my family and some of our family friends have come together each year to organize a carnival-style Halloween event at the local recreation centre,” explained Loon Lake resident and Loon Lake Halloween Party committee member Micayla McRae. “The kids arrive in costume and usually take part in several carnival games where they can win candy before receiving a big bag of candy when they leave. This year, however, it will be a little different because of COVID-19.”

Instead of the traditional Halloween party, the committee has instead organized a new event known as the Halloween Candy Train. It takes place at the Loon Lake Recreation Centre Oct. 31 from 2 to 4 p.m. and is geared to children 12 years and younger.

“A carnival-style event is not going to work because of the various guidelines that must be followed, so instead we’ve come up with the Halloween Candy Train,” McRae reiterated. “Tables will be set up around the recreation centre and the kids and their families can line up single file – while spaced accordingly – and visit each station to receive their candy. Everyone who enters the building, including our volunteers, will be required to wear a mask and, yes, the kids will still be in costume.”

Once the children have made their way to each station, they have the option of taking a hotdog lunch to go, a meal that will likely also include a drink and some fruit.

“The Loon Lake Halloween Party has been a part of our community for a long time, and we want to be able to continue it in some way because it gives local children something to look forward to at Halloween,” McRae noted.

McRae, who along with her siblings, has been assisting her mother, Glenda, with a Halloween event in Loon Lake for years now said it’s something her family enjoys doing because it provides a fun experience for children who live in a community where – no matter what the province says – trick-or-treating is not allowed.

“There is no trick-or-treating allowed in Loon Lake, and it’s not just because of the pandemic,” McRae said. “There’s a bylaw in place that prevents children from trick-or-treating, and I’m not even sure as to the reason why it was put in place to begin with. It goes back well before my time – more than 30 years or so.”

While the Village of Loon Lake itself was unable to provide further information about this apparent bylaw preventing trick-or-treating by this week’s news deadline, Loon Lake RCMP Sgt. Ryan How said he is unaware of such a rule.

“We encourage everyone to go out on Halloween and have fun being mindful of the provincial COVID-19 recommendations,” How noted. “Regarding safety, the RCMP recommend wearing bright colours or having reflective strips on costumes, and to trick-or-treat in groups. Motorists need to be aware as well and be driving slowly through all communities that evening. Loon Lake RCMP members will be out and about enjoying the night as well, and making sure everyone is safe.”

by Phil Ambroziak