Little vampire Thomas Joe ponders the options in the Re/Max candy bowl. Thomas and Aurora Joe

Spooky setting safer for kids with Halloween street closures

Council members, Walking Dead and Star Wars added to pumpkin display at municipal hall

With pumpkins lit along the Ave, Oak Bay is ready for the spooky season.

The Oak Bay Business Improvement Association built on previous events to create a larger trick or treat, merchant pumpkin carving contest, and new pet costume parade this ghosting season.

BIA Halloween celebrations conclude with a giant Trick or Treat on Oak Bay Avenue from 2 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 31. Participating businesses feature a pumpkin poster in the window.

“For parents it’s awesome, a fun, safe place,” said Tony Joe, who takes his kids out and dishes out candy at his Re/Max office. “It’s early enough we can go home after and give out candy.”

The street will be closed at 1 p.m. to welcome an expected 600 children and their families. A variety of performers will stilt walk, juggle, hula hoop and more while Dave Lang and the Insolent Rabble play live music.

Pet owners too can trick or treat for “doggie bags” at participating stores. This year also marks the inaugural Oak Bay Village Pet Costume Contest. Register at the Victoria Pet Adoption Society booth on Oak Bay Avenue between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. when the contest and parade starts.

“More and more the trick or treat event is a community event where friends, neighbours and extended family come to the Avenue to socialize, enjoy the costumes and celebrate the day,” said Elizabeth Smith, BIA president. “We can’t fit everyone on the sidewalks now, so we are creating a more diverse afternoon event that is safe and fun.”

Oak Bay village kicked off Halloween celebrations Oct. 23 with the fifth annual Pumpkin Art on the Avenue, open nightly now until Oct. 31.

Light posts feature the pumpkin carving of John Vickers, leading into the darkness behind municipal hall where the giant display fills the park. Oak Bay BIA and Oak Bay Kiwanis partner on the showcase of more than 500 pumpkins in themed displays.

Each year Vickers, who created the concept 18 years ago, carves new gourds to keep the display current.

 

“The big focus based on a lot of community response has been with the new Star Wars,” Vickers said.

 

“I had some Star Wars characters from over the years – sometimes they go missing – this year I’m creating this gigantic Star Wars display … all of the characters people would expect to see.”

He’s also added the new Oak Bay councillors, Tom Croft and Eric Zhelka, who joined council following November’s election.

Vickers also plans to “squeeze in a few more” ever-popular Walking Dead characters.

The display is open nightly from 5 pm to 9 pm. (extended to 10 p.m. on Halloween).

Admission is by donation with proceeds going to the Oak Bay Kiwanis Eliminate Project which has a goal of eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus in countries around the world.

Carving contest

Window displays featuring pumpkins are expected in the village Oct. 28 to 31 for the fourth annual BIA Merchant Pumpkin Carving Contest. Businesses compete for the pumpkin carving champion title with elaborate designs, innovative carvings and group presentations.

 

 

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