A peculiar Halloween: COVID-19 turns Montreal kids into mad inventors of candy machines
MONTREAL -- It’s a strange Halloween, but isn’t Halloween supposed to be peculiar?
That’s how some Montreal children seemed to see it this week as they threw themselves into devising new contraptions to deliver candy virus-free.
“Us children have always loved three things: candy, balloons and surprises,” said one Grade 7 student as she pitched her revolutionary idea this week.
“It's called ‘Candy Splash,’” explained Irina Krachkovskaya.
“It’s a simple idea of putting candy in balloons and simply blowing them up and then throwing it to the person who’s trick or treating.”
Other ideas got more complicated.
“You would hook on a bag of candy and then you would zip it down to the bottom where the kid would take it off,” said Kaitlyn Hewitt, describing her candy zipline.
One boy decided to go even more high-tech.
“So the kids will walk up, sanitize their hands with the hand sanitizer, place their bags onto the devil’s horns, and make it so the bag is going under the tube,” said Lukas Balash.
“And then they’ll tell me what candy they want [and] I’ll grab the candy, put it into the tube so it’ll slide into their bag.” (Watch the video above to see what he means.)
The three students are from Centennial Regional High School in Greenfield Park. Their teacher challenged them to come up with safe ways to trick or treat.
“I just thought it would be a good idea for the students to solve a real problem,” said the teacher, Cecilia Anne Coyne.
The kids’ solutions, a very wide range of ideas, were impressive, said the teachers.
But it was also nice, said the principal—who was dressed as a dalmation on Friday—to see young people finding a way to keep things light in an era that can be less than fun.
“With everything that the students are going through with COVID—and we're very cautious, we follow all the guidelines—we really felt it was important to celebrate Halloween,” said principal Sherry Tite.
Though Montreal and Quebec have permitted trick-or-treating, unlike many jurisdictions, including Ottawa and Toronto, many parents are still planning a very altered version of the norm.
“Tonight we're going to be hosting a virtual Halloween party, and so we have about 15 families who will be joining us on Zoom,” said one mother, Jenn Cox.
“And so we’ll be playing some music and playing some games and all the kids can see themselves dressed up.”
Other Montreal families have reported that they’re planning Halloween treasure hunts or even elaborate haunted houses within their homes, each transforming a bedroom in secrecy to try and out-scare each other.
And some towns in Ontario, where trick-or-treating was more discouraged, found other solutions, including in Gananoque, where actors dressed up in scary costumes and delivered candy door to door.
The spookiest idea of all? It may be that kids will start expecting a Halloween this sophisticated every year.