Youth volunteers in Airdrie have been working to plan an event that will allow children to trick or treat safely this Halloween.
From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. on Oct. 31, the Airdrie Youth Volunteer Corps (YVC-Airdrie) will host Save Halloween, where day home groups will be able to collect candy at YVC-Airdrie’s office on Edmonton Trail. According to Dorothy May, assistant program director with YVC-Airdrie, volunteers were spurred to get creative in light of concerns that COVID-19 might make trick or treating unsafe this year.
“Our youth advisory board helps come up with ideas that are meaningful to the youth,” May said. “When we were talking about this idea, they were quite excited about it.”
In the past, May said, YVC-Airdrie volunteers have helped out at Boo at the Creek, a family-friendly Halloween event that has been held in Airdrie since 2015. Last year, volunteers dressed up as superheroes and helped with set up, clean up and running activities. After this year’s iteration was cancelled, the youth volunteers decided they would have to find their own way to help children celebrate Halloween.
During Save Halloween, the teenaged volunteers will decorate up to 10 doors at YVC-Airdrie’s office. Children from local day homes will be able to wander around, knock on the doors and receive treats.
YVC-Airdrie will solidify the details of the event during four planning sessions. May said all 47 youth volunteers would be involved in planning the event and approximately 30 youth will help out on Oct. 31.
“The volunteers will be in charge of what the theme will be, any decorations and how they want to distribute the candy,” May said. “They are also converting the office space into a friendly maze.”
May said several local day homes have been invited to Save Halloween. The event would likely be able to accommodate 15 separate cohorts of kids aged three to 10, allowing children to trick or treat while remaining socially distanced. In total, May said, 100 kids could participate in Save Halloween during the course of the event.
To ensure everyone’s safety, YVC-Airdrie will have several precautions in place at Save Halloween. According to May, temperature checks, health-screening questions and frequent sanitizing will take place at the event. Cohorts will be scheduled for time slots to ensure there aren’t too many people in the event space at a time.
"That also gives us time to sanitize high-touch areas in between appointments,” May said. “Volunteers will also be wearing face coverings.”
YVC-Airdrie has partnered with Airdrie Block Parent (ABP) to teach the kids who attend Save Halloween about the program. According to ABP’s Facebook page, the program aims to provide a safe haven to children, teens and seniors in need of help from an adult when none are present.
May said YVC-Airdrie is currently seeking local business partners to sponsor the event. Businesses can sponsor a door for $200 and will be able to promote their company at the event. The sponsorships will support YVC-Airdrie and allow the non-profit organization to continue to offer free programming.
For more information on how to register a day home group for the event or sponsor a door, email May at Dorothy.firstname.lastname@example.org.