Is Halloween cancelled in Hamilton this year?

The question that’s on the tip of everyone’s Scream mask tongue this fall is whether or not Halloween will be cancelled because of COVID-19.

Although there has been no definitive answers as of yet, local and provincial politicians have hinted that trick-or-treating might not be the best idea this October 31st. 

Burlington mayor Marianne Meed-Ward fielded questions about Halloween at a telephone town hall meeting on September 23rd. 

I don’t have the authority to cancel Halloween, but we certainly can send a message closer to the time based on what we hear from our public health department about any suggestions they might have about this to keep people safe,” said Meed-Ward.

She also followed up by saying that the most important thing this year is for everyone to stay safe and at this time that includes physical distancing and proper hygiene measures. 

Earlier in September, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said that he would prefer parents didn’t send their kids trick-or-treating for Halloween while the province continues to control the spread of COVID-19. 

“It just makes me nervous, kids going door-to-door with this, I’d prefer (they) not,” said Ford. 

But, Ford did say that he would “play it by ear” as we move through October. He also said that things change so quickly amid the pandemic making it difficult to predict how it would be in a few weeks time. 

Hamilton politicians have yet to weigh in on the possibility of placing restrictions on trick-or-treating or other Halloween traditions. 

The Hamilton Spectator featured a story on August 31st that considered possible Halloween activities this year. Dr. Sarah Kahn, associate medical director of infection prevention and control with Hamilton Health Sciences, said that Halloween parties may be okay if it follows public health guidelines.

Kahn even said in the Spectator that trick-or-treating could be alright if the proper precautions are taken. They’ve learned that fomites and inanimate objects are not high risk for transmission. 

While other annual events continue to be cancelled or postponed, decisions over Halloween continue to be up-in-the-air with COVID-19 cases on the rise in Ontario. Throughout the last few weeks of September, public health units have reported similar numbers to that of the spring with stricter restrictions being implemented again province-wide. 

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