No Kids’ Safe Halloween, but plenty of treats still available for locals

Cathy Goulard, Jocelyne Schiavo and Gilles Beaulne only reach the hips of “Boris Bones,” their 12-foot-tall skeleton. Boris is just one of the many incredible decorations they’ve set up for their Halloween tent on Church St., which will be free for all to attend. However, they’ll be collecting donations in support of the West Nipissing Food Bank.

Some enthusiastic spooksters are working to make sure that local kids can still have a safe and fun Halloween, as indoor festivities are still not encouraged due to COVID-19.

The municipality announced the Kids’ Safe Halloween at the Marcel Noel Hall was cancelled for a second year in a row on Oct. 7.

“The decision was made for the well-being of staff and our community. Our annual Halloween event typically attracts hundreds of families,” read a release from the municipality. “Amid the fourth wave of the pandemic, it is important to do everything we can to protect those who cannot be immunized and prevent the spread of the virus.” 

However, plans for some old school outdoor fun are still moving ahead. For the second year in a row, Gabrielle Brazeau is compiling a map of houses that are giving out candy to trick or treaters, despite living half a world away.

“In the end it’s still my home and I want to help as much as I can,” says Brazeau, who now lives in Australia. “I’ve always loved helping others. Especially being a mother myself, I know how exciting Halloween is for children and they all deserve that, especially with COVID changing so many other things for them already.”

Her first map was a hit, with hundreds of houses signing up to be included. Brazeau sorted participants by community in 2020, but this year it’s just one giant map for all West Nipissing. 

“Last year I had received a lot of messages thanking me for creating the map as many have said they haven’t seen that many kids out trick or treating for several years,” says Brazeau. “Usually, the kids head to the complex and skip the door-to-door. One person in particular had said it made her so happy to see it like the old days again.”

Speaking to the Tribune on Oct. 19, Brazeau said there were already around 70 houses signed up and people can still add their address to the map until the day before Halloween. To do so, just join the Facebook group “West Nipissing Halloween” and post your location in the proper thread.

One stop everyone will want to make is at 235 Church St. to see the incredible display of Jocelyne Schiavo and Gilles Beaulne. For years Schiavo, a lover of Halloween, has been setting up a terrifying tent to show off her creepy decorations, and hundreds of kids would wander through for a scare.

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