With COVID restrictions lifted in time for Halloween, here’s how Toronto celebrated the gruesome season

Halloween parties are out, ready to celebrate the eerie season with more ease than the previous year, as many COVID-19 health restrictions have been lifted in time for trick-or-treating.

Prior to Sunday, the province issued a guide explaining that hand alcohol should be used throughout the evening, that wearing a mask is important, and that sweets do not need to be cleaned, as it is now clear that COVID-19 is primarily spread through aerosols and drops. .

Ontario has lifted the limits on indoor capacity in most environments where proof of vaccination is required, meaning indoor parties at venues and bars can work with health precautions in place.

Over the weekend, costume shops like Spirit Halloween and Crazy Halloween in downtown Toronto saw their shelves empty as partygoers rushed to buy costumes. And across Toronto, events are sold out around the city, including most ticket levels for Monster’s Ball and production group Excited Mental States’ annual Rocky Horror Shadow Cast show.

The Rocky Horror show has been operating since the early 1990s in what is now called Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema. Last year, Excited Mental State held a modified version of the show online.

This year, the show is running at 50 percent capacity and was sold out within a week after tickets went up. The first show was Saturday night, and although the performers were masked, the excitement in the theater was electric, said Rena Altman, head of the cast for the show.

“God, I jumped around the stage. We had such a good time. We always get a lot of teenagers, especially … they were just so talkative and excited,” she said. “People were just happy to be out again, just for to be in a room with so many people, and everyone cheers. “

“When everyone got up to do Time Warp, I just laughed so wide under my mask,” she said.

Watching a Rocky Horror live performance is something that is meant to be enjoyed in person, and returning to it in a safe way was a relief, she said.

Prior to Sunday, the province issued a guide explaining that hand alcohol should be used throughout the evening, that wearing a mask is important, and that sweets do not need to be cleaned, as it is now clear that COVID-19 is primarily spread through aerosols and drops. .

Up in Richmond Hill, the haunted labyrinth event Toronto Horror Hallways was able to function in a slightly more “normal” way due to the eased restrictions, but precautions are still in place, said Corey Dixon, the creator of the event, which has been in operation for six years.

In 2020, Horror Hallways could open, but guests should be scared at a much longer distance. They also provided two doctors to make sure guests followed the protocols, and that’s an aspect they’re keeping this year, Dixon said.

“It has been nice to get back to our original horrors … this year we can get a little bit closer to our guests. It’s a really nice feeling, ”he said.

Last year, Horror Hallways was the only attraction operating in Richmond Hill, so they had long lineups due to capacity constraints, Dixon said. Now guests can enter the maze faster with a group of six, as long as they adhere to social distance, a temperature check, contact tracking and extra hand disinfection before entering.

“This year we were able to do a lot more than last year,” he said, adding that the actors like to get up close and jump out at guests.

Pumpkin parades also return to the city on November 1 in more than 35 parks where Indians from Toronto can show off their spooky pumpkins.

Toronto Public Health expects more trick-or-treat this Hallows Eve, and has also released safety guidelines for trick-or-treaters and those handing out candy – encouraging everyone to stay outdoors as much as possible, wear a fabric mask and share pre-packaged treats out.

And with the return of door-to-door festivities, a piece of childhood that was previously taken away from Toronto’s children because of COVID is now back.

“I’m the father of an eight-year-old girl, and seeing her be able to celebrate Halloween is a special part of her childhood,” said Josh Matlow, a Toronto-St. Pauls.

“It really makes sense to be able to come together as a community and see our neighbors again,” he said, adding to make sure to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines and be careful with tricks or therapists while driving.

“And for those of us who are parents of ghouls and gremlins, try not to eat too much of their candy,” Matlow said.

With files by Irelyne Lavery

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