Halloween decorations and pumpkins are shown at a house in Montreal, Friday, November 1, 2019. A new poll suggests Canadians are divided about whether to let the COVID-19 pandemic disrupt their plans for upcoming holidays and seasonal events. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Canadians divided over whether to let pandemic disrupt Halloween, holidays: Poll

About half of people will hand out candy, an equal number to those who will let their kids trick-or-treat

Canadians are divided about whether to let the COVID-19 pandemic disrupt their plans for upcoming holidays and seasonal events, a new poll suggests.

The poll, conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, comes as COVID-19 cases are surging and public health authorities are pleading with Canadians in places with rising case counts to avoid contact with anyone outside their immediate families or at least to stick to small social circles.

The results suggest that message is only partially getting through.

Respondents with children who went door to door for Halloween last year were closely divided on whether to let them go trick-or-treating again this year, with 52 per cent saying they won’t and 48 per cent saying they will.

The poll found sharp regional variations, however. About two-thirds of respondents in Atlantic Canada, which has been relatively untouched by COVID-19’s resurgence, said they will let their kids go out. In harder-hit Ontario and Quebec, two-thirds said they won’t.

Those kids who do go trick-or-treating will find slimmer pickings, with 49 per cent of respondents nationwide saying they won’t open their doors this year to hand out candy.

Again, Atlantic Canadians were more likely to say they’d give out treats; in Ontario and Quebec, trick-or-treaters seem set for sparse pickings. In Ontario, 24 per cent of respondents said they’ll give out treats. In Quebec, just 13 per cent.

Respondents were also divided about celebrating Thanksgiving this coming weekend, with 40 per cent of respondents saying the pandemic is causing them to change their plans — and an equal percentage saying it is not. Another 20 per cent said they don’t usually celebrate Thanksgiving in any event.

As for the Christmas holiday season, 49 per cent said they’ll change their plans, 44 per cent said they won’t. Another eight per cent said they don’t usually celebrate that holiday.

Those who intend to change their plans were asked to describe how. They were allowed to give multiple answers.

Seventy-four per cent said they’ll celebrate with close or immediate family members to keep their social interactions to a minimum, 54 per cent said they’ll limit celebrations to a smaller number of visitors, 40 per cent plan to issue strict instructions against kissing, hugging or handshaking, and 37 per cent plan to avoid air travel.

Thirty per cent said they’ll hold virtual celebrations and 25 per cent said they won’t attend religious services or celebrations they would otherwise have gone to. Nineteen per cent said they plan to cancel celebrations altogether.

READ MORE: B.C. CDC releases Thanksgiving, Halloween tips for COVID-safe fall celebrations

The online poll of 1,523 adult Canadians was conducted Oct. 2 to 4. It cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

Almost three-quarters of respondents — 72 per cent — said Canada has already entered the second wave of the pandemic, up 10 points since just last week.

There was less division over how governments should respond to the second wave of the deadly coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Fifty-three per cent said high-risk businesses and activities should be shut down while others should remain open for the time being. Another 28 per cent said as many businesses as possible should be kept open while we see how the second wave progresses, while 14 per cent favoured a near-total lockdown similar to that imposed last spring.

Fully 85 per cent said they’d support shutting down bars, nightclubs and casinos, while 74 per cent would support shutting down movie theatres and all amateur sports, including school sports.

Sixty-seven per cent would back shutting down places of worship, 61 per cent interprovincial travel, 52 per cent schools and universities, 52 per cent visits to long-term or personal care homes, 47 per cent parks and playgrounds, 46 per cent restaurants and offices, 44 per cent shopping malls and 33 per cent retail stores.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusHalloween

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press Media file photo)
SUV collides with Kelowna transit bus

Five people were taken to hospital following the collision

(Instagram/Matty Rebman)
Hit and run kills dog, severely injures West Kelowna man

The car was abandoned but police could not locate its driver

Administration offices for the Central Okanagan School District. (File photo)
Central Okanagan School District clarifies COVID-19 notification process

The district announced its first positive case of the virus at Kelowna Secondary School on Sunday

City of Kelowna snow removal crews are ready to jump into action. (File)
Snow removal on track despite early snowfall: City of Kelowna

Despite record-breaking snowfall in October, the city said there’s no concern it will go over its snow removal budget

The City of Kelowna’s temporary outdoor shelter on Recreation Avenue, pictured in winter 2019. (Black Press Media file)
Kelowna outreach group hopes winter shelter comes soon

With the early onset of winter conditions this year, those without homes need shelter sooner

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

Friends and family of Sonya Riome, 35, are confirming she died in the fire. (Submitted)
Woman dies in weekend Revelstoke house fire

The fire gutted the property

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Apex Mountain Resort received 35 centimetres of fresh snow over the weekend, prompting some to head out for some early season turns. (Apex Mountain Resort / Facebook)
Stay off the mountain: Apex warns of early season dangers

Recreational use of the mountain before opening day comes with serious risks

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Armstrong’s Christyna Whieldon is $1M richer after scoring a winning Lotto 6/49 ticket from the general store. (BCLC contributed)
Armstrong mom $1M richer after candy run

Christyna Whieldon bought a winning ticket from Armstrong’s general store

The Penticton Indian Band is opposing any hunting of local big horn sheep which are an at-risk population. (submitted photo)
Penticton Indian Band oppose big horn sheep hunts

Local big horn sheep are an at-risk population

Most Read