Halloween in Toronto

Halloween may still be on and the candy chute could help Toronto residents

There’s no need to cancel Halloween this year, according to Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, as long as trick-or-treaters respect the new normals of the pandemic.

While mayors across the GTA are calling on the province to provide “one clear public health message,” Dr. Tam, while addressing a briefing in Ottawa on Tuesdays morning, encouraged creative and safe ideas for those wanting to participate in Halloween this year. She advised parents and kids to maintain physical distancing while trick-or-treating outside, as well as sticking to pre-packaged treats, and to having hand sanitizer available.

“There are some really interesting ideas where people are handing out treats at the end of a hockey stick or something, using a pool noodle to tell your kids how far they should be standing apart from each other,” she said. “So, there are ways to actually manage this outdoors.”

With just two weeks away remaining before one of Toronto’s favourite holidays, most residents are already brainstorming new ways to keep the Halloween spirit buzzing in the new normal. The St. Clair West Residents Group on Facebook, for instance, has come up with the unique idea of hosting “candy chutes” to ensure the safe passage of goodies to trick-or-treaters while still keeping the perils of COVID-19 in mind.

Candy Chute
The candy chute has turned into a fundraiser for the Daily Bread food bank

The mastermind behind the idea is Geoff Burke, who is known in some of the city’s community Facebook groups for posting plumbing tips. Burke has turned the initiative into a fundraiser, asking locals to contribute funds to the Daily Bread Food Bank in return for a custom chute that he and his company Watermark Plumbing Services will provide and install.

“We’ve decided to put our plumbing skills to good use (outside of your home this time). We are trying to give twice in this campaign: First, providing much needed support for the Daily Bread Food Bank in these critical times, and second, helping to facilitate a safer Halloween!” Burke posted in an Annex Facebook group this weekend.

“For a minimum $25 donation, we are going to be running around the neighbourhood, providing and installing decorated candy chutes on the railings outside of the homes of anyone who would like one! We hope to help provide a safe way to trick-or-treat this year, while also giving back to the community.”

The initiative has garnered so much interest that Burke has had over 400 requests in just a few days.

The structure is simple to assemble and decorate for anyone who is keen on welcoming the spooky season to this new reality. And to quote Dr. Tam, the aim is “finding that balance of trying to provide some degree of normality, even though it is actually different from any other year.”

If you hear of any other creative Halloween ideas, please let us know!

Article exclusive to TRNTO