Saskatchewan looks at alternatives to trick-or-treating

Concern about neighbourhood safety is prompting several groups and communities in Saskatchewan to try to curtail trick-or-treating.

Concern about neighbourhood safety is prompting several groups and communities in Saskatchewan to try to curtail trick-or-treating.

A church group in Saskatoon is sending out about 18 volunteers to keep an eye on one neighbourhood. The Saskatoon Church of God's annual patrol checks for acts of vandalism and other mischief.

The church is holding a party with games and candy to encourage children not to be on the street at Halloween, Pastor Bob Williamson said.

"I think that trick-or-treating is probably losing its popularity," Williamson said.

"You're going to see trick-or-treating move more and more towards community-kind of get-togethers, where at least we have some eyeball-to-eyeball contact, we know what's going on, and we know where things are coming from."

Williamson says he's trying to get other churches in the city to organize parties as an alternative to door-to-door trick-or-treating.

Daylight preferred

Coralie Bueckert, a parent and the town of Warman's leisure program co-ordinator, believes in providing safer options.

She doesn't think trick-or-treating should be eliminated, just limited to before sunset. A community party will keep children off streets later at night, so younger kids won't have to worry about getting candy stolen, she said.

Communities that have jumped on the idea include Humboldt, where the city has held a Halloween party for the past four years, complete with candy and games.

In Nipawin, the Lions Club is running its annual Spookarama Dance as an alternative to unsupervised partying for teenagers.

Police departments around the province are also putting out tips to try to make Halloween safer.

The Regina police advise parents to make sure children who are trick-or-treating carry a flashlight .

They're also advised to:

  • Cross the street only at corners.
  • Wear light-coloured clothing and reflective tape.
  • Have a planned route and travel in groups, accompanied by a responsible adult.
  • Do trick-or-treating earlier in the evening.
  • Don't eat any treats until they can be brought home and examined.
  • Stick to well-lit streets, avoiding back alleys.