In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, life is far from normal. And nothing exemplifies that quite like this year’s Halloween.
Beyond the traditional spookiness, families are being cautioned against holding costume parties and children are asked to wear masks while collecting treats.
To make matters even weirder, Saturday marks a rare astronomical occurrence. People will be able to see the second full moon of the month, otherwise known as a blue moon.
It’s the first time since the Second World War that the entire planet can see it, and it isn’t expected to occur again until 2039.
That will surely add to the mystique of Jason Aquino’s front lawn.
Aquino has taken spooky to another level for this year’s Halloween at his house in Red Deer’s Vanier neighbourhood.
For the past five years, Aquino has been building on his collection of creepy lawn decorations, and this year, he’s gone full out, working for nearly a month perfecting his frightening look – including spooky lights, smoke machines, a giant hanging demon, and a witch with a cauldron that talks and makes steam.
“I wanted to do it big this year, because even in the pandemic, we can still enjoy Halloween,” he said, adding he just hopes to bring a smile to people’s faces and make a small difference.
Aquino said at the start, the motivation was to build on a small tradition he enjoyed back home in the Philippines.
At a school he worked at there, they would have a costume contest, but nothing like North American Halloween, with lawn decorations and trick or treating.
“It was fun and good. Then when we moved here eight years ago, it was one of the biggest holidays for Canadians. When we bought the house, I started collecting stuff,” he said.
For the most part, the ornaments he’s added in the past few years have been finds from garage sales, Facebook Marketplace and Kijji.
He gets most of his ideas from Pinterest and Facebook and says setting it all up becomes a family affair, as his three youngsters get involved and enjoy all the spookiness that comes along with the fun.
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said Thursday that it is still OK for children to trick or treat, as long as they do it safely. She advised against hosting Halloween parties.
Hinshaw said while many Albertans are fond of Halloween, there has been a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases after almost every major holiday.
“Be wise and be safe and follow the guidance we have provided,” she said.
“If you are trick or treating, keep it to your household or close cohort and please ensure your children wear a non-medical mask under their costume.”