Trick-or-treaters will be out in force across the Bay tomorrow – but the ghosts and ghouls may not be welcome on every doorstep.
During level 2 restrictions, the Government is warning some people may not be comfortable with trick-or-treaters on their property.
"They may put a sign out or have other ways of letting you know they do not want to participate. Please respect this and do not enter that property."
They are also asking Bay of Plenty householders to consider creating a QR code for their home so parents can record the houses their children visited.
Pāpāmoa resident Kristine Petitpas and her family love Halloween but are preparing for this one to be different.
"We want to be sure that we're being respectful to our neighbours' bubble situation.
"We don't want to stress out our immuno-compromised neighbours, or our elderly neighbours – some of whom I absolutely know are not putting themselves in public situations at the moment or are keeping very much inside their properties," Petitpas said.
The mum-of-three, and her husband, had suggested a dress-up treasure hunt at home this year.
"We won't know until the night. I've heard that a lot of people are still going to go out. I have heard that some people are going to go to houses that are obviously decorated.
"I don't expect that there will be as many people down in Pāpāmoa East this year. In previous years when we've gone there's been hundreds of people. With the Covid restrictions, even though we're outside, I don't think we're allowed to do that, as such," she said.
Petitpas suggested Bay residents could sit outside to participate in trick-or-treating, rather than having people on their properties.
"I personally don't want my kids popping their hands into a bowl that everyone else has had their hands in."
Petitpas said her husband was Canadian and the family went all out on Halloween each year, planning their costumes and decorating their home – even the dog got dressed up.
"Being from Canada, Halloween is the biggest holiday of the year for him and therefore our children absolutely love the whole process – getting ready and going out each year."
Due to Covid, her children were already missing out on Christmas parties and possibly her eldest child's graduation from primary school, so she hoped Halloween wouldn't disappoint.
"There's so much they're already missing out on; it would be a shame if we didn't get to just do a little something fun for the kids. It would be a nice way to wrap up a bit of a rubbish year – again, to have a little bit of fun."
Meanwhile, Matua resident Calvin Helms is planning a Halloween maze, complete with gravestone and grim reaper for the first year his son, Boston, is old enough to enjoy the celebrations.
The family's Beach Rd front lawn will be transformed into a maze of cobwebbed pathways and tunnels with one way in – and one way out.
"We've pretty much bought the whole display at Kmart. We have a lot of stuff," he said.
Helms grew up trick-or-treating.
"My mum was born in America in California, they celebrate it a lot more than us Kiwis, so back here Mum just carried it on."
He wasn't sure by Wednesday this week what the ambitious project would cost.
"I don't know, it's still going. Today's job is to and get thousands and thousands of lollies," he said.
Helms has thought about the implications of Halloween in level 2, creating the one-way maze system. "So you don't cross paths with other people," he said.
He will also have two security guards at the property to ensure children's safety.
The maze will stand about 2m tall creating some intrigue from the popular beachfront street.
"So, you can't see in, you have to come and experience it," he said.
Helms said the maze – which featured gravestones, mummies and the grim reaper - would look better lit up after dark, so will remain open until 9pm or 10pm.
Across the Bay, retailers have been selling Halloween-themed items since September.
The Warehouse Group chief customer officer Johnathan Waecker said staff had noticed a rise in the popularity of Halloween over the last few years, with customers starting to think about it as early as July.
"With Covid-19 disrupting some Halloween plans, we've noticed a trend towards customers purchasing outdoor decorations to add some scare-factor to their homes, and our wide range of Halloween costumes continues to be popular with our customers.
"Twinning costumes, such as our mother-and-daughter vampire and skeleton costumes are top choices this year, along with our range of full-family Halloween costumes."
Skulls and skeleton were always a favourite.
The Warehouse's two-headed animated dog skeleton and life-size human skeleton were the most expensive decorations the store offered at $69.30 and $63 respectively, while Kmart was selling an animated reaper for $99.
Advice for Bay trick-or-treaters
• If you or your children are unwell or have any symptoms of Covid-19, stay at home and get a test. By staying at home this Halloween, you will help keep everyone safe.
• If you are over 12, wear a face covering.
• Try to keep 2 metres away from people you do not live with. Avoid gathering at doors or entrances and give other children space to leave before approaching.
• Wash and sanitise your hands regularly.
• If you or your children are out trick-or-treating, keep track of the houses you visit and the time you were there.
• Some people may not be comfortable with trick-or-treaters on their property. They may put a sign out or have other ways of letting you know they do not want to participate. Please respect this and do not enter that property.
Advice for handing out candy
• Wash or sanitise your hands before giving out candy.
• If you are not comfortable with people coming on to your property, put a sign out.
• Try not to use shared bowls or unwrapped lollies or candy. Instead hand out individual pre-packaged lollies, candy or chocolate bars.
• Have sanitiser available for children to use.
• Do not participate if you or anyone in your household is unwell or is self-isolating.
• If you are expecting visits from trick-or-treaters, you can create a QR code for your house to help them keep track of where they have been. Encourage trick-or-treaters to scan in. The NZ Covid Tracer app keeps us one step ahead of the virus — the more we scan, the safer we'll be.
If you are organising or attending a Halloween party, make sure it meets the requirements for a social gathering. Halloween parties at Alert Level 2 are limited to 100 people, indoors or outdoors.
Do not attend a Halloween party if you are unwell.
Source: www.covid 19.govt.nz
Create your own QR Code online here.