General News

Halloween shouldn’t be a nightmare

Councils across The Weekly Times territory have urged families to avoid Trick Or Treat street walks and take part in council sponsored Halloween activities.

Hunters Hill, Canada Bay, Lane Cove and Parramatta councils have sponsored activities but the City of Ryde and the City of Sydney have urged families to celebrate Halloween at home.

Hunters Hill Council is sponsoring a COVID safe home decoration alternative to Trick Or Treat street walks.

“Celebrate Halloween safely with our community,” Hunters Hill Council advises.

“Decorate your home, snap a shot and send it to us. 

“The best decorated house will win a Halloween hamper filled with Tricks and Treats from Hunters Hill local businesses.”

The council has also promoted a COVID-19 safe “Hunters Hill Halloween Hunt” with 200 prizes up for grabs. 

 The City of Canada Bay has organised a COVID-19 safe film event as a safe alternative to street walks.

“For the first time ever in the City of Canada Bay, we invite you to “Halloween at the Drive–In” sponsored by the City of Canada Bay,” the council announced this week.

“Please join us to celebrate Halloween on Saturday, October 31 and Sunday, November 1 at Cintra Park Car Park, Concord where there will be three sessions per day at 2pm, 5pm and 8pm with a variety of movies suited to all ages.”

In Lane Cove lovers of classic Victorian era ghost stories can experience the atmosphere of a real Victorian parlour at historic Carisbrook House, which is open 10am to 4pm on the third weekend of  each month.

“Although the original occupants of the Carisbrook House are long gone, you can very much sense their presence here today,” a Carisbrook House visitor told The Weekly Times.

The City of Parramatta has organised a COVID-19 safe Halloween themed costumed storytelling and craft competition morning for children this Thursday, October 29 from 11am at Dundas Library.

City of Ryde councillors from the Liberal and Labor factions have urged children and adults not to walk the streets in spooky costumes during Halloween from Thursday, October 29 to Sunday, November 1 due to the risk of spreading the coronavirus.  

Councillor Trenton Brown (Lib) said large groups of costumed families on local streets will present a nightmare for health authorities who will struggle to trace a source of a virus if a case emerges during a street walk.

“Being able to recall who knocked on your door seven days after the event will be very difficult for many people and this is especially so when many children will be dressed up in costume and not easily recognisable by people who know them.”

Labor Clr Penny Pedersen told The Weekly Times she is also concerned with the potential spread of the virus.

“It was established at our council meeting discussion several months ago, by those who addressed the issue, that we did not want to encourage people to attend Halloween trick or treating and I maintain this position,” she said.  

“I am not allowing my own children to Trick or Treat during Halloween, instead we will join another small family to have some fun and dress up.” 

The City of Sydney has also advised against large groups celebrating Halloween at popular venues in the CBD.

In Ryde, Councillor Brown urged parents to organise household Halloween events. 

“I recommend that parents organise for localised small groups of kids to be able to enjoy Halloween in backyard parties where there is a restricted access to children and other adults who are not necessarily known to one another,” he said.

 “There have been a number of covid-19 cases in our local areas and our community should remain vigilant in our physical distancing from one another.”

The City of Sydney said families can still have fun at home.

“It is safer to trick or treat with people from the same household rather than mixed groups, so make it a family affair this year.”  

Independent Clr Roy Maggio believes councils should not be giving advice on what children should or should not do.

“Leave it up to the parents,” he said.

Hornsby Shire Council will comply with government advice. 

“The safety of our residents and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic is our first and foremost priority at all times, we are acting on current advice and this is subject to change at short notice,” the council  advises.

Overseas, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has banned Trick Or Treat activities with fines of $400 being imposed for breaches.

The United State’s largest Hispanic city – Los Angeles – has also banned the world famous Day Of The Dead celebration and community Trick Or Treat events.

 ‘While I know this is disappointing news, especially to our children, we believe this is the responsible approach to protect the health of the community,’ Los Angeles County Mayor Lester Friedman said.