CALGARY -- Firefighters, police officers and paramedics will be patrolling Calgary streets to assist children on Halloween night, but there is an even greater emphasis on public health and safety this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The City of Calgary will once again have more than 600 emergency vehicles watching for children and providing high-visibility assistance for families who decide to trick-or-treat this year. 

The 26th annual initiative is part of the Calgary Partners for Safety program, which is organized by Calgary's Child Magazine and includes members of:

  • Calgary Police Service (CPS)
  • Calgary Fire Department (CFD)
  • Calgary Transit
  • Calgary Community Standards (Bylaw and 911)
  • Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA). 

Carol Henke, CFD public information officer, says crews will be making sure health protocols are top of mind this year. She wants to remind Calgarians that all community fire stations are open between emergency calls and are a safe place to ask for help if needed. 

"This is definitely the scariest Halloween that we’ve ever had as COVID has definitely increased the risk factor," said Henke.

"We really just want everyone to follow all AHS precautions and guidelines when it comes to being out and about. The two metre distancing, washing your hands and frequently sanitizing, but there are also the other safety precautions we want people to take that we encourage every Halloween."

The City of Calgary has listed the following safety tips for Halloween night:

Trick or Treating tips for kids

  • Keep your non-medical face covering on while trick-or-treating; bring sanitizer and make sure to use it frequently.
  • Stay at least two metres away from people not in your cohort.
  • Consider a costume that can incorporate your face covering easily.

Tips for handing out candy

  • Wear a non-medical face covering and use tongs to hand out candy.
  • Think about creative candy dispensing ideas such as ramps or tubes that will help you maintain two metres of distance.
  • Consider handing out candy outside to avoid crowding and overuse of touch points like door handles, railings and the doorbell.

Tips for adults going out

  • Go out with people in your cohort/bubble.
  • Wash your hands often and pack sanitizer in your pocket or purse.
  • Don't share food, drinks, and vapes with people outside of your bubble.
  • Choose an outdoor location where possible.
  • Bring a proper face covering with you to wear where required.  A Halloween mask is not effective as a face covering.
  • Make sure you're aware of any venue guidelines or restrictions before you go out.

Tips for adults having people over

  • Limit your party to a maximum of 15 people.
  • Invite people in your cohort/bubble.
  • Keep the party outdoors as much as possible.
  • Avoid sharing food, drinks, and vapes.
  • If you serve food, make individual servings where possible.
  • Put sanitizer in visible spaces and use single-use towels in the bathroom.

Halloween safety tips for kids

  • Tell your parent(s) or guardian(s) where you're going, who you're going with, and when you'll be home.
  • Bring a cell phone in case something changes.
  • All pedestrian rules still apply - look both ways and walk, don't run, across the street at intersections.
  • Trick-or-treat all the way down one side of the street before crossing to the other; avoid zig-zagging across the road.
  • Wear bright, reflective clothing so you are visible to drivers on the road.
  • Trick-or-Treaters should carry a flashlight with them.
  • Avoid shortcuts through alleyways, lanes, or private property.
  • Stay in busy, well-lit areas if possible and bring a flashlight.
  • Never enter a stranger's house or a car while you're trick-or- treating.
  • If a situation or person makes you feel uncomfortable, trust your gut and walk away. Call a parent or trusted adult if you're not sure what to do, or approach one of the Partners for Safety vehicles.

Costume tips

  • Wear the full costume around the house for an hour or two to make sure the shoes, clothing, and accessories are comfortable (make changes if needed).
  • Avoid costumes that are extremely dark or all black! Choose one with bright colors and consider adding reflective tape to make sure drivers can see you.
  • Pick materials, garments, and accessories labeled 'flame-resistant'.
  • All accessories, such as sticks, rods, or wands should be soft and flexible with no sharp edges.
  • A costume should be loose enough to be worn over warm clothing or a heavy jacket.
  • Make sure the costume isn't too big or long to avoid tripping hazards. It should not cover ankles and hands.
  • Wear make-up instead of a mask to better accommodate a non-medical face covering.

Safety tips for haunted houses

  • If you are planning to attend a haunted house, ensure physical distancing of at least two metres.
  • Wear a face covering.
  • If you're hosting a haunted community experience, remember that theme houses open to the public (indoors or outdoors), are considered a gathering.
  • Limit attendance and ensure appropriate physical distancing, including controlling entry and exit for a haunted house.
  • Do not have direct contact or touch with people, provide open food, or have close-range conversations.

For more information on planning a haunted house, call The City of Calgary at 403-268-5311

For more tips for having a fun and safe Halloween, visit Calgary's Child  or City of Calgary - Halloween Safety.