Winnipeg parents moving towards safer Halloween traditions

24/12/2018 Posted by admin

WINNIPEG —; For many kids going trick-or-treating alone is a right of passage, but it can leave some parents nervous.

Now, many Winnipeg communities are looking to ease parent’s and children’s nerves and ensure everyone is safe on Halloween.

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“When I was a kid trick-or-treating we would go off on our own and mom would stay at home,” said one resident. “It was safe. Nowadays, with crazies around, you never know.”

For the second year, a street in River Heights will shut down on Oct. 31 and have a Halloween block party.

“We close the street so the kids can feel free to just run around the whole evening,” said Stephanie Bolt. “There are more dangers, more cars on the street. I think we are more vigilant.”

It allows parents to watch over their kids while giving them the freedom to wander from house to house collecting candy.

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“You need to know what you’re getting in the candy,” said Justin Boonen. “Who your neighbours are. There is less of that as time goes on.”

Road blockades go up for the evening, the streets are closed to drivers but open to children and parents to trick-or-treat.

Other parents are opting to head to either Grant Park Mall, Kildonan Place or the Forks. All will be decorated in Halloween spirit and allow kids to trick-or-treat in an indoor and safe environment.

The idea of a “safe” Halloween isn’t entirely new and in one area of the city, was born from tragedy.

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The Indian and Metis Friendship Centre has been opening its doors to trick-or-treaters since 2010.

It moved towards the tradition of indoor trick-or-treating after a triple shooting left two men dead just days before Halloween that year.

“We got together and just decided we have to have a safe haven for the kids,” said executive director Rick Lavallee. “There is a fairly high crime rate here and we just want our kids to be safe and we want our kids to enjoy Halloween.”

Each year since, more than 2,200 people have taken in the now annual tradition.

“In the past we’ve had lineups almost to Main St. which is a kilometre away,” said Lavallee.

This year the centre is doing things a little bit differently. Inside there will be a haunted house and the hall will be decorated and lit up. Trick-or-treating will be limited to children between the ages of 2-12.

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Prepackaged bags filled with candy will be handed out to children as they leave to help with the long lines the centre has experienced in the past.

With just a few days left before Halloween, the centre is still looking for donations: candy, chocolate, chips and even toothbrushes and floss. All can be dropped off at 45 Robinson Ave. over the weekend.