News / Edmonton

Making Halloween happen downtown: Apartments, businesses sign up to hand out candy in Oliver

The Community League posts map of trick-or-treating spots for kids, in an area with few single-family homes

Kayla and Dusten Dixon go trick-or-treating in Oliver with their daughter Freja last year.

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Kayla and Dusten Dixon go trick-or-treating in Oliver with their daughter Freja last year.

Kids are welcome in the Oliver neighbourhood.

That’s the message that the Edmonton community league hopes to send with its Halloween map, identifying buildings where residents have agreed to hand out candy Tuesday in an area of the city with few single-family homes.

“We’re starting to see a shift in Oliver where people are starting to raise children in the neighbourhood, instead of moving away when they start a family,” said Oliver Community League President Lisa Brown.

“I think it’s pretty great that people are willing to sit in the lobby of their building and give kids a chance to experience something that they maybe otherwise wouldn’t be able to.”

The movement started with a single mom, Carolee Morais, who wanted to trick-or-treat but didn’t have a vehicle to go to more suburban neighbourhoods.

Community league member Angelika Matson took it to the next level with a map last year, and participation has skyrocketed this year.

By Monday afternoon, more than 25 locations had signed up, including churches, businesses, apartments and condos.

Matson said it’s not just costumed kids, but also grown-ups, who look forward to the opportunity.

“The people that are handing out candy get really, really excited. We’ve got senior residences that are just thrilled to have kids coming to their door,” Matson said.

“I think that building those connections makes living in a downtown community worthwhile.”

The Jellinek Society, a recovery house situated in the former family home of Nellie McClung, is one of the buildings where kids can trick-or-treat on Tuesday.

The society decked out its front steps with numerous jack-o-lanterns and put Halloween mannequins on its front lawn.

“We’re happy to participate, because it’s for the kids,” said the society’s acting director Bob Philp.

“I don’t know what kind of a response we’ll get because of the nature of the neighbourhood.”

Demand seems to be strong, if last year is any indication.

One apartment building on 115 Street, between 102 Avenue and 103 Avenue, gave out candy in the lobby last October and was so busy that residents had to go out and pick up candy three times throughout the night after running out, Brown said.

As an added bonus, the community league will host its own event at Kitchener Park on Tuesday with free candy and a fire pit where kids can warm up between door-knocking.

“It shows that children are a valued component in our community and that the community league has taken a position that families are really important for the neighbourhood,” Brown said.

The map is available on the community league’s website.

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