British Columbia

Fewer trick-or-treaters in Metro Vancouver, but pandemic doesn't cool off popular spots

There was only about a third of trick-or-treaters compared to CBC's 2017 map, but the neighbourhoods where they gathered remained the same. 

Only a third of trick-or-treaters compared to CBC's 2017 map, but popular neighbourhoods still busy

Judith Doyle and James Hoyland's 7-year-old daughter dressed up as a coronavirus this year, "because it's one of the scariest things of 2020!" (Judith Doyle)

The spirit of 2020 may have reduced the number of trick-or-treaters roaming Metro Vancouver, but those who ventured out stuck to the same hot spots as in previous years. 

That's according to user-generated data from CBC's Trick or Treat Count, which gathered responses from more than 500 people throughout the region. 

Andy Yan, director of The City Program at Simon Fraser University, says there was only about a third of trick-or-treaters compared to 2017, but the neighbourhoods where they gathered remained largely the same. 

"Certainly covid has ... put a damper on trick or treating," Yan said. "But I think the spirit of community and connection and neighbourhoods still remains strong."

Some of the hot spots this year, as in previous years, included Vancouver's Douglas Park neighbourhood near Cambie Village, and the Queen's Park neighbourhood in New Westminster.

There were also a couple of heavy hitters in the West End. 

This year participants were also asked what, if any, special precautions they had put in place for COVID-19.

"Candy chutes" were a particularly popular addition this year, as were individually wrapped candy bags and the use of tongs. 

Several participants said they simply left candy out for children to pick instead of handing it out. 

Michelle Sylvest's household in Nelson, B.C., individually wrapped bags of candy to keep it safe for trick-or-treaters. (Michelle Sylvest)

Some households also put measures in place to make sure people didn't cluster and risk spreading COVID-19. Some used caution tape to keep trick-or-treaters apart, or painted arrows on lawns to manage how people approached and left.

"While covid has perhaps cooled down trick or treating, it didn't put a damper on creativity," Yan said. 

Halloween on Trinity Street in East Vancouver. SFU professor Andy Yan says Halloween may have put a damper on the number of trick-or-treaters, it didn't put a damper on creativity. (Melanie Smith)

Chocolate was the most popular choice of candy to hand out, but otherwise there wasn't much of a pattern among the heavy hitters in terms of the type of treat.

That being said, the household with the highest number of trick-or-treaters in Metro Vancouver — located on Scott Road, in Richmond — was handing out king-sized chocolate bars this year.

Potato chips, rockets and Skittles were other popular options. One family handed out Play-Doh. 

Yan says it will be interesting to see if COVID-19 has a lasting effect on the the number of trick-or-treaters next year. 


Maryse Zeidler


Maryse Zeidler is a reporter for CBC News in Vancouver, covering news from across British Columbia. You can reach her at

With files from Tara Carmen and Tamara Baluja


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