It is the spookiest time of the year in Cochrane as the community prepares for a fright-filled Halloween.
The holiday is typically a time for the community to come together, show off incredible costumes and gain loot bags full of treats.
This year, however, will be a different experience.
It was novel when St. Patrick's Day was cancelled when COVID-19 first arrived in Alberta. However, the holiday was soon followed by scaled-back versions of Easter, Canada Day, Labour Day Long Weekend, Thanksgiving and other holidays.
Now we face a Halloween during a pandemic— COVID-19 has proven to be scarier than any horror movie.
However, if one chooses to celebrate Halloween this year the top priority needs to be respecting the feelings and safety threshold of our friends and neighbours.
Some will be comfortable trick-or-treating, others may have small parties with cohorts, while others may choose to do nothing at all.
COVID-19 will be with us for many months to come, and the latest numbers prove we need to be more careful than ever in ensuring we flatten the curve— This needs to be top of mind during Halloween celebrations.
In Alberta alone there are 4,738 new cases of the virus, 123 people are currently hospitalized, including 16 in intensive care units, and sadly 309 Albertans have died.
In Cochrane we have four active cases of the virus, if we do not continue to be diligent these numbers may rise.
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Albertans can celebrate Halloween as long as they are cautious and take steps to help mitigate the transmission of the virus.
Hinshaw noted because Halloween typically takes place outside, trick-or-treating can be a safer activity in comparison to other holidays. She added parents should also consider costumes that allow children to wear a mask and practice social distancing when out and about.
“In many ways, I believe it is actually safer to celebrate than other holidays. Most Halloween activities take place outdoors and largely within one family. However, we need to make it as safe as possible to celebrate this year," Hinshaw cautioned.
For those who feel unsafe trick-or-treating this year there other fun events to celebrate the season in Cochrane.
One of the more inspiring events includes the Bethany Cochrane pumpkin walk. Cochranites are encouraged to create their spookiest, sweetest and most creative masterpieces to share with residents.
The event is especially exciting as the annual Cochrane Pumpkin Lantern Festival was cancelled and the walk serves as an exciting way to bring our community together virtually.
The event embodies what makes Cochrane strong— The ability to embrace kindness and empathy while ensuring we look after our neighbours.
Anything Grows is hosting a pumpkin carving contest and are encouraging people to leave their creations at Bethay Cochrane, said head of marketing Andrea Heembrock.
"We know a number of people in our lives, friends and families, that have connections with Bethany Care— They’re a really an important part of our community,” Heembrock said. “It can be used for the enjoyment of residents.”