Safe Halloween features games, fireworks

Safe Halloween is a traditional family-friendly event held in Sooke for more than a decade

Between parties, after parties, trick or treating and haunted house tours there will be no shortage of activities to do on Halloween night in Sooke.

And here’s another: Safe Halloween, a traditional family-friendly event held in Sooke for more than a decade, featuring carnival games such as pin the nose on the pumpkin, ghost bowling, witch hat ring toss, as well as fireworks.

All activities will be held in the Muncipal parking lot starting at 5 p.m. on Halloween night, with fireworks expected to be set off next door in John Phillips Park around 8 p.m.

“It’s about providing a safe and fun environment for kids and families during Halloween at either before they’re trick or treating or after they’re trick or treating, to come together as a community to enjoy different games and activities,” said Megan MacKeigan, recreation coordinator at SEAPARC Leisure Complex, one of the organizers of the event.

Ironically, Safe Halloween earned its name several years ago not to necessarily protect youth from ghouls and goblins, but more so to protect youth from themselves.

MacKeigan recalls there were several years in a row in Sooke on Halloween night when youth took over the town core, setting off fires in dumpsters, throwing debris at police, smashing windows of businesses and vandalizing property.

The juvenile violence hit its peak however, and in 2000, a local group formed between business owners and parents, who decided to get together and regain control of the town core again on Halloween night and make it safe for youth and families alike.

The solution? Not riot gear and tear gas, no, instead they simply gave youth something to do that night. Because hey, why set fire to a car if you can win yourself a fuzzy teddy bear while playing ghost bowling?

“It all came down to gearing the event towards young people, and allowing them to do something fun and productive on Halloween,” MacKeigan said.

Over the years, the event morphed, changing locations and becoming an all-ages kind of night, predominately for kindergarden and elementary kids.

In addition to fireworks, live music and several bands will also be present, including performances by the Sooke Harbour Players.