Penticton Fire Department chief Larry Watkinson advises against using fireworks on Halloween this year. (Jenna Cocullo / Black Press Media)

Penticton Fire Department chief Larry Watkinson advises against using fireworks on Halloween this year. (Jenna Cocullo / Black Press Media)

How to not get blown up or catch COVID-19 this Halloween in Penticton

Halloween amid a pandemic will present a handful of unique challenges

The Penticton Fire Department is cautioning residents to stay safe ahead of what promises to be a very unique Halloween.

On top of fireworks and the other various safety concerns that occur on Halloween night, residents also have COVID-19 to worry about.

READ MORE: Trudeau and his family decide against trick-or-treating this year due to COVID

Residential use of fireworks is illegal in the province of British Columbia without a permit, explained Penticton fire chief Larry Watkinson.

Watkinson doesn’t expect many people to be out lighting off fireworks this year, but he said it has posed problems in the past.

“Those ones you buy on the side of the road are still illegal and they’re dangerous,” said Watkinson. “They’re unknown, they’re not coming from a guaranteed supplier and they’re produced in non-certified facilities.

“I’ve sadly had to respond to children with their hands blown off.”

With fireworks out of the question and many questions remaining about how to safely trick-or-treat during a pandemic, Watkinson says Halloween in 2020 will be uniquely challenging.

If families do choose to participate in trick-or-treating, it’s imperative that they do so only with groups from inside their bubble and maintain a safe distance from candy givers, said Watkinson. He also said this year parents should always be present with trick-or-treaters, even older children. “If you’re going to put your kids out there they need to be well lit and masked up,” said the fire chief.

Traditional Halloween masks, such as a plastic mask, should be worn with a proper face covering underneath.

When it comes to Halloween parties, Watkinson’s advice was pretty simple: “Don’t.”

“We’ve done really well in Penticton when it comes to our response to COVID… and I think a lot of that has to do with our youth,” said Watkinson. “Our youth have been highly disciplined, even our grad parties and all that stuff was really pinned down.”

Other ways to ensure you and your kids stay safe this Halloween include:

  • Check your candy at home to make sure it hasn’t been tampered with
  • Drivers should be aware and extra cautious of children on the roads at night
  • If you use fireworks or have a bonfire, do it safely: don’t light fireworks from your hands and make sure they are a safe distance from any properties or grassy fields
  • Dress children in bright clothing for visibility

READ MORE: B.C.’s top doctor encourages Halloween costumes to include masks



jesse.day@pentictonwesternnews.com

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