With uncertainty around Halloween because of the COVID-19 pandemic, one Thunder Bay organization has come up with a safe way to provide kids with a safe way of trick-or-treating.

The Da Vinci Centre is opening its door and inviting families to walk its Pumpkin Path on Halloween Day from noon to 8 p.m.

More than 30 tables will be set up, with COVID-19 safety protocols in place, for families to come dressed in costumes and trick or treat at each table. The tables will be sponsored by local businesses or community groups. Admission is free.

“The Halloween event came to life because I couldn’t honestly imagine not having a Halloween function for kids,” said Ann Marie Polowski, general manager of the Da Vinci Centre. “I think COVID has taken quite a bit from a lot of people and businesses and it’s kind of left us with half an empty building.”

So Polowski thought of a way to use the centre’s space and give kids some normalcy to Halloween while still providing a way for them to enjoy the festivity in a safe way.

“There are so many rules now,” she said. “We’re working through it.”

The Da Vinci Centre’s Pumpkin Path will have one-way traffic and limited capacity to control the flow of traffic. However, Polowski said groups in the same social circles can go through together like they normally would in their own neighbourhoods.

There will also be additional cleaners on site and there will be some stations set up outdoors, weather permitting, for anyone not feeling comfortable with going indoors.

“We do want to make sure everyone feels safe and secure,” said Polowski.

When Polowski launched the event earlier this week, the response she received was overwhelming from both families and the business community.

“It’s amazing to see how much people want to give and take part in this,” she said. “It shows how many people care. It’s all for the kids.”

A spokesperson for the Thunder Bay District Health Unit said they are in the process of developing recommendations for Halloween but they won’t be releasing them until closer to Oct. 31 as “community conditions at that time will play a major role.”

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