Scott Anderson stands among the “Camp Covid” Halloween decorations he’s put on the lawn of his Fleetwood-area house. As B.C. continues to deal with the pandemic, Anderson isn’t sure how many trick-or-treaters he and his wife, Dana, will get on Saturday night (Oct. 31). “Usually we get over 200 kids, but I don’t think we’ll come near that this year.” (submitted photo: Dana DeWolfe)

Scott Anderson stands among the “Camp Covid” Halloween decorations he’s put on the lawn of his Fleetwood-area house. As B.C. continues to deal with the pandemic, Anderson isn’t sure how many trick-or-treaters he and his wife, Dana, will get on Saturday night (Oct. 31). “Usually we get over 200 kids, but I don’t think we’ll come near that this year.” (submitted photo: Dana DeWolfe)

‘Camp Covid’ for Halloween at Surrey home where decorator ponders trick-or-treat numbers

Dr. Henry: ‘This is not the year we’re going to have hundreds of kids going to hundreds of houses’

The Halloween decorations outside Scott Anderson’s Surrey home are pretty frightening, but he figures the COVID-19 pandemic might scare away a greater number of trick-or-treaters.

“Usually we get over 200 kids, but I don’t think we’ll come near that this year,” said the Fleetwood-area resident.

Anderson, a lover of Halloween since he was a kid on Sea Island in Richmond, said he adds more thrills to his yard every year.

This year it’s a “Camp Covid” theme, with mask-wearing skeletons seated outside tents and a “campfire” – all physically distanced, of course. “Be calm, be kind, be safe, or else,” reads a sign stuck in the lawn, at 15527 94th Ave.

“It’s very kid-friendly, no blood or gore,” said Anderson’s wife, Dana DeWolfe.

“It’s good fun, lots of things that make noise. We have a big front lawn, and it takes up all of the lawn.

“We don’t have any kids outselves, but the kids in our neighborhood love it, she added, “and so do all our grand-nieces and nephews.”

(Story continues below)

B.C. health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says Halloween trick-or-treating is a go this year, but encourages mask wearing and precautions to maintain physical distancing.

“This is not the year we’re going to have hundreds of kids going to hundreds of houses in large groups,” Henry said during a media briefing Oct. 19. “That can’t happen this year. This has to be Halloween in the time of a pandemic, and for many families, that will mean staying at home and maybe having a candy hunt in a house and watching a scary movie.”

She encourage parents to consider having small in-home gatherings, “in a very small way, in a limited way.”

“I think that’s important for us to remember that ceremonies are things that children remember as well, and that this one (Halloween) will be different and it needs to be small,” Henry said. “We need to have distancing and we need to really, really respect that some people don’t want to play this year (or) have people coming to their house.”

• READ MORE:B.C.’s top doctor encourages Halloween costumes to include masks.

Anderson and DeWolfe will use a tube to drop chocolate bars into trick-or-treat bags of kids who knock on the their door.

“Whatever doesn’t get given out, we’ll give it to the Surrey Food Bank,” DeWolfe said. “Usually we bring it to the office but it’s not open right now, so that won’t happen.”

Anderson, an IT guy, starts building his “Halloween house” in September each year.

“That’s when all the boxes come up from the crawlspace,” DeWolfe explained. “I don’t know how many Rubbermaid containers he has in there, probably 20.”

DeWolfe is more of a Christmas person, Anderson reported. “We’ll do those decorations, too, but not as much outside as inside,” he said.

“I just love Halloween,” Anderson added. “The people in the neighbourhood thank me for doing it, which is nice, and the kids like it.”

Meantime, Surrey student Mehakpreet Dhaliwal emailed the Now-Leader with some thoughts about staying safe while having fun at Halloween this year.

“Many of the ‘traditional’ Halloween activities, especially trick-or-treating and costume parties, are considered high-risk for the spreading of the virus,” wrote Mehakpreet, a Grade 10 student. “However, with a little bit of planning and a dash of creativity, you can still celebrate the spookiest time of year with your family and friends. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

“Go big on decorations. To get in the Halloween spirit, decorate your house, apartment or living space – interior and exterior – with either store-bought or DIY decor. Engage your children by having ‘Halloween craft sessions,’ or hit your nearest dollar store for fabulous, yet affordable, decorations.

“Host a virtual costume party. Use any of the multitude of video calling apps available these days to host your own virtual Halloween costume party. Invite your family and friends, and if you’re feeling competitive, you could even turn it into a costume contest!

“Have a horror movie marathon. If home is where your happy place is, get ready to snuggle up with a bowl of popcorn, a bag of candy, and your favourite blanket for a spooky Halloween movie night.

“Bake Halloween goodies. From eyeball cake pops to ghost shaped cookies, a quick Google search of ‘Halloween treats’ will give you hundreds of different recipes and options to choose from. Spend time and have fun with your children by having them help you out in the kitchen. If baking isn’t really your cup of tea, you could binge watch others accomplish the daunting task in Food Network’s iconic Halloween baking shows.

“Organize a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt. Rather than going house-to-house, have a spooky scavenger hunt at home. Hide some candy inside your house or around your backyard, create clues, and get your family involved. Be creative and have fun with it!

“Carve pumpkins. Luckily this Halloween tradition is one of the very few that’s pretty pandemic-proof. Step up your game this year by trying some creative pumpkin-carving, or painting, ideas. Have a pumpkin carving contest in your family, and see who can come up with the scariest (or silliest) creation.”

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