By Nikki Jamieson
Westwind Weekly News
This Saturday, the correct phrase is ‘Trunk or Treat’.
With Halloween falling on a Sunday this year, the Town of Raymond and Raymond Chamber of Commerce is holding their festivities on Oct. 30 with the first annual Trunk or Treat on Main Street event.
Historically, the town has changed the trick-or-treating day when Oct. 31 occurs on a Sunday. Greg Robinson, director of community and development for the town, noted that in the past, individuals have hosted trunk or treat events, and the town hopes to combine efforts for one large Main Street event.
“Council’s hope was to allow neighbourhoods and families to decide what’s best for themselves ultimately. We hope that people can participate in one of two ways — If your personal preference is to observe Sunday without Halloween, then we are providing an opportunity to come down and participate in the trunk or treat event on Saturday evening. Or if you prefer you can celebrate on Halloween or organize your neighbourhood collaboratively and trick or treat on a better day or time,” said Robinson.
Robinson also noted that the Saturday event will be a great opportunity for their main street and local businesses. Citing the example of the Old Fashioned Christmas event hosted by the Raymond Chamber of Commerce, he noted that this was a “similar opportunity for Halloween”.
“We are hoping to provide this as an opportunity to use our main street and invite any businesses to attend if they are interested as well. Main Street activities are a great way to create positive memories and encourage great community support for special events like this.”
“In 2018, the Town hired a consultant by the name of Roger Brooks to conduct a Community Assessment that was focused on improving the viability of our Main Street and community in general and to attract investment and tourism. One of his key components is creating 250 days of events in your downtown core to give businesses a reason to stay open later. Council felt that this was a way to create a new event in the downtown that would help us get closer to the recommendations from the assessment,” said Kurtis Pratt, CAO for the Town of Raymond. “The majority of our businesses are closed on Sundays and as mentioned before, this event could create new opportunities to bring people downtown and while they are there, potentially support our amazing, local businesses.”
The town will be blocking off a portion of Main Street, from Church Ave North to 100 North, for the event. People will be able to set up their vehicles starting at 6 p.m., with staff assisting with parking. With the trunk or treating starting at 6:30 p.m., participants are asked to bring their own candy to hand out, and businesses can get involved by decorating their storefronts and encouraging participants into their stores.
As per Alberta Health Services requirements, cars will be spaced out for social distancing. Although due to the pandemic, no other activities will be going on, Pratt noted that in the future, once public health restrictions are eased, they could look at other activities such as fire pits and competitions to go during the festivities, pending council direction and lessons learned going forward.
The town asks for everyone to be mindful of Alberta Public Safety guidelines during the event.
“This is a new event. There will inevitably be lessons learned and we ask for everyone who comes to be ready to participate with candy, be understanding of hiccups along the way, remember to social distance and be kind,” said Pratt. “We believe that this is something that can grow organically and become a new, fun, community tradition.”