Dozens of Red Deer students put on their Halloween costumes to spread a bit of holiday spirit to seniors.
On Friday, Ecole La Prairie students and staff walked around Barrett Kiwanis Place, a retirement home located across the street from the school, while waving to residents who watched through their building’s windows.
“Something like this shows there are still laughs, there are still smiles, there are still kids. There’s hope for tomorrow. I don’t know if I can express how wonderful this is,” said Carolyn Langevin, a Barrett Kiwanis Place resident.
“I look at the playground and it’s like getting a Christmas card. You can forget COVID for a minute.
“… COVID has really limited us from some socializing and it’s hard when you’re a senior. Time goes by a little faster for us and missing our grandchildren or children is tough.”
Ecole La Prairie students have visited the building’s seniors on Halloween and Christmas in previous years. But that wasn’t possible this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The students’ Halloween parade has “given residents something to look forward to,” said fellow resident Mary Witherspoon.
“It’s so nice that the children love to see the older people. Some of them don’t have grandparents and some of us don’t get to see our grandkids very often,” she said.
Ecole La Prairie principal Jean Doyon said students have been interacting with Barrett residents for about six years.
“This time of year, for Halloween, and Christmas as well, we have a couple of classes going across to visit the seniors. We’ve had a few events where we invited them to the school, too. Obviously, this year, we can’t do that,” said Doyon.
When it was clear students wouldn’t be able to visit the building this year due to COVID restrictions, many residents bought treats and shipped them over to the school.
School staff then decided to return the favour with Friday’s Halloween parade.
Celebrating Halloween gives the school’s 144 students a sense of normalcy, Doyon added.
“It’s a great thing that we can do something to celebrate Halloween despite this abnormal year with the pandemic and all the restrictions we have,” he said.
The school has traditionally hosted a school-wide costume contest.
“This year, because the classes are kept in cohorts, we can’t have assemblies and we can’t get all the kids together, so we just did a contest in each class.
“There are some classes where it’s going to be tough to make a final decision on who wins, because there are some great costumes,” said Doyon.