On Saturday children had the opportunity to do some trick-or-treating at the fourth annual Halloween event at Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park. But the gathering of masked superheroes, firefighters, princesses, skeletons and Jedi masters seemed to enjoy dancing at the slightly muddy plaza and having sword fights even more than the candy.
Tortola resident Rhea Pemberton said her 2-year-old daughter enjoyed spending time with friends, especially because the Covid-19 pandemic has interrupted typical playdates and events like house-to-house trick-or-treating.
“She’s at home most of the time because of Covid now,” Ms. Pemberton. “So I just wanted her to get a chance to socialise with other little kids.”
Ms. Pemberton said this year was different from others because of the pandemic, and she took measures like bringing pre-bought candy to the event. But her daughter didn’t seem to mind, proudly showing off an orange toy spider she carried in her trick-or-treat bucket when asked about her favourite item.
“She’s been talking about Halloween since June,” Ms. Pemberton added.
Other parents shared similar sentiments, watching from the side lines as kids played and friends reunited until nightfall.
Event organiser Sabrina Evans, owner of Just Be You Fashions, said she was inspired to start the event four years ago so her son could enjoy the experience of trick-or-treating like she did when she was a child.
Her family has always gone all in celebrating Halloween, going so far as to host haunted houses for children in the community.
Ms. Evans said the word of mouth grew since the inaugural event, and before the arrival of Covid-19 she had been looking forward to the biggest celebration yet this year. But when the pandemic gained momentum, she considered cancelling it.
Still, families remembered the Pier Park event and kept hoping it could happen, she said. So Ms. Evans worked with health officials to facilitate as safe of an outdoor event as possible — and the event was met with double the turnout of last year.
She said the event benefited families who have been dealing with the stress of the pandemic, but also offered businesses — some of which contributed to the cause — the opportunity to reconnect with customers and share plans for holiday sales.
By next year, if the pandemic is more under control, Ms. Evans hopes the park will be able to pursue its plans for a big fifth anniversary bash, with sponsors, a bouncy castle, music and other treats. But for this year, she was glad just to help facilitate some Halloween fun.