Don't dress as seals, Churchill offers Nunavut neighbour Halloween advice
The mayor of Churchill has some advice for a Nunavut community facing the threat of wandering polar bears during Halloween activities.
"Nobody dresses up as seals. Nobody dresses up as polar bears here," said Mayor Mike Spence.
The hamlet of Arviat, located on Hudson Bay about 250 kilometres north of Churchill, has decided to hold Halloween festivities indoors this year.
Bears have been coming into Arviat more in recent years, especially in the fall during freeze-up, so it was decided to hold Halloween at the community hall.
The hall has limited space, so the hamlet is considering different times for different age groups. They're also arranging to have a shuttle bus take children to the hall.
Churchill is also visited by polar bears in the late fall but the town has managed to keep Halloween festivities happening outside through an organized polar bear patrol.
A helicopter is used to chase the bears away from the town outskirts, and armed volunteers form a perimeter to watch for any that try to come back.
Any bears that make that mistake will be treated to noisemakers like cracker shells and sometimes rubber bullets to chase them back out again. There are also live holding traps on the edge of town and any bears caught are released once the trick-or-treating is done.
"Basically, everybody knows their responsibility in terms of you know, where they're stationed, where they're located," Spence said. "We've been doing it for so long that, I mean, it's pretty effective."
Bears are just something they have to deal with as a northern community, he said.