Thousand Islands Playhouse hosts Reverse Halloween

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As COVID-19 casts its shadow over Halloween, the Thousand Island Playhouse has dreamed up a scheme to bring candy directly to children.

“We’re in the business of characters and costumes,” said Brett Christopher, managing artistic director of the Thousand Islands Playhouse.

“We love Halloween here at the Playhouse and our ultimate goal is to ensure that COVID-19 doesn’t prevent kids from getting into costume and having candy to sort.”

Parents can sign up their children for Reverse Halloween through 1000islandsplayhouse.com from now until Oct. 27. On Oct., 31 between 5-8 p.m., a special candy delivery will be made to registered children at their door.

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“The Town of Gananoque has not cancelled Halloween. However the town does recommend following the public health unit’s suggestions,” said Mayor Ted Lojko.

Those suggestions include finding creative alternatives to trick-or-treating, arranging virtual or outdoor gatherings instead of indoor events.

The health unit also suggests that if people choose to participate in trick-or-treating this year, they should only go out with members of their direct household; ensure they wear a mask or face covering that fits properly – a costume mask is not a substitute for a face covering; maintain two-metre distances and avoid congregating or lingering on doorsteps; and wash or sanitize hands frequently.

For households giving out treats the health unit recommends finding creative ways to hand out treats so children aren’t reaching into a bucket or bowl.

“It’s important that we all do our part to stay safe this Halloween,” said Lojko.

Recognizing that there are many families that don’t feel comfortable allowing their children to go trick-or-treating, and an equal number of residents who are leery about opening their doors to trick-or-treaters, playhouse company manager Marta McDonald came up with the scheme to bring candy to children.

Armed with a sponsorship from Gan Chev, McDonald set the ball rolling. On Oct. 31, playhouse volunteers and staff will be dressing in costume as ghosts, witches, vampires, and more, and delivering free pre-packaged bags of candy to children’s doorsteps across Gananoque.

“So instead of going out, you can dress up at home, and we’ll come to you, all dressed up and give you the candy you would have gone out and collected,” said McDonald.

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Anyone who doesn’t have children but would like to participate is invited to make donations at the playhouse, which can be in the form of sealed boxes of candy or cash. Donations can be dropped off to the Firehall Theatre, at 185 South Street, between 11a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday to Friday until Oct. 27.

“With our team we’ll be following COVID protocols as we re-package candy to distribute to children. We just wanted to offer another option,” said McDonald.

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