WINNIPEG -- The COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on Halloween festivities across Canada, with some communities not allowing events or parties due to gathering size restrictions.

However, one Indigenous community in northwestern Manitoba is putting a unique spin on Halloween celebrations and giving community members a way to show their creativity and celebrate the occasion, even while they can’t gather outside of their home.

A Facebook page for the Northlands Denesuline First Nation has been running online contests for pumpkin carving, face painting, and homemade costume contests.

Northern Manitoba Halloween

(Image courtesy Melanie Ferris/MKO)

Chief Simon Denechezhe said on Wednesday the idea started after the community went into lockdown in late March, closing indoor access to all services, and having people work from home. Members of the Northlands Health Resource created the page with indoor activities for people to do.

“It’s mainly for our young people, their mental well-being,” Denechezhe said. “Being in a remote community, and being isolated in their homes, it’s a way to entertain them through the community.”

northern manitoba halloween

(Image courtesy Melanie Ferris/MKO)

Northlands Denesuline First Nation is located in Lac Brochet, Man., a remote community in northwestern Manitoba. The community has a temporary road available in the winter, but can only be accessed year-round by air.

While the community has not reported any COVID-19 cases, the stress of the pandemic can still be felt.

“Frustration rises with the pandemic, it’s not doing anybody any good,” Denechezhe said, “The children feel it, the young people feel it, so the stress level goes down through these activities. They can do stuff from their own homes with their families, and they can share their ideas, their art, and their talent.”

northern halloween

northern manitoba halloween

(Image courtesy Melanie Ferris/MKO)

At the start of the pandemic, the page included contests for traditional activities such as jigging. The community relaxed restrictions in the summer, and allowed some outdoor activities, but have resumed with Halloween themed activities in the fall.

Denechezhe said when Halloween is over, the group will start doing Christmas activities.

The group can be found here, and people can request to join it.