As children across Canada face the grim prospect of trick-or-treating in heavy rain and even snow, some communities have decided to postpone Halloween.
In Quebec, Montreal and suburban towns such as Longueuil and most major towns south of the city, announced Wednesday that Oct. 31 festivities will be pushed to Friday. They followed similar announcements by U.S. officials citing weather-related safety concerns.
The move comes as most of Canada braces for storms. Near-freezing temperatures and flurries are expected in the Prairie provinces on Thursday, and light to moderate rain is expected in most of Atlantic Canada on Thursday evening. Ontario and Quebec face the prospect of the heaviest precipitation in the country – torrential downpours and fierce winds are projected for much of both provinces. Only British Columbia, which is expected to be dry and cloudy, will be spared.
David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada, said in an interview that Thursday’s weather will break records.
“From Windsor [Ont.] to Wabush, [N.L.] this will be known as the Trick-or-Treat Storm,” Mr. Phillips said.
It’s been a generally mild October across the country, but that will come to a screeching halt Thursday, Mr. Phillips said.
“It’s going to be a weather changer,” he said, adding that temperatures will likely cool down for the remainder of fall and winter after Thursday’s storms.
Environment Canada says the amount of rain could surpass 50 millimetres and winds could reach up to 90 kilometres an hour in the south of Quebec, while significant snow is expected in northwestern and central parts of the province.
Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante tweeted Wednesday that the rain and winds were enough to ask parents and kids to wait one more night.
Among the communities that have postponed the holiday is the Montreal suburb of Sainte-Julie, a municipality of 30,000, which is expecting 40 mm to 50 mm of rain on Thursday.
“It’s a security thing,” said Julie Martin, the municipality’s communications co-ordinator. “It will be a lot of rain, so for the little children in the street it will be dangerous.”
Reaction to the announcement has been mostly positive, said Ms. Martin, but not everyone is on board.
“I don’t agree with changing the date of an event that has always happened on October 31, no matter the weather conditions,” one resident wrote on the municipality’s Facebook page. “Families have prepared accordingly to spend Halloween tomorrow together.”
Sainte-Julie resident Amy-Lou Lafontaine said in an interview she’s “delighted” with the decision.
“Personally, I didn’t see us having a great time running from door to door under our umbrellas, soaking wet, with our children in tow,” said Ms. Lafontaine, who has two young children.
She said her son, who is three-years-old, has been excited about Halloween for weeks, but that “it will be easy for us to explain to him that we’ll be going out on Friday instead due to the weather conditions.”
For Mr. Phillips, moving Halloween in Sainte-Julie was the right call.
“My stance is that if you have that power, and you’re thinking of kids’ safety, then this might be a good one to postpone.”