PHOTOS: Saanich retirement home welcomes students for pandemic-friendly Great Pumpkin walk

Berwick House Retirement Community hosted its annual Great Pumpkin Walk with the Grade 5 students from Hillcrest Elementary in a pandemic-friendly fashion. (Photo courtesy Melissa Braun)Berwick House Retirement Community hosted its annual Great Pumpkin Walk with the Grade 5 students from Hillcrest Elementary in a pandemic-friendly fashion. (Photo courtesy Melissa Braun)
Berwick House Retirement Community hosted its annual Great Pumpkin Walk with the Grade 5 students from Hillcrest Elementary in a pandemic-friendly fashion. (Photo courtesy Melissa Braun)Berwick House Retirement Community hosted its annual Great Pumpkin Walk with the Grade 5 students from Hillcrest Elementary in a pandemic-friendly fashion. (Photo courtesy Melissa Braun)
Berwick House residents Marion Thompson and Gladys Forsburg donned their finest feather boas for the Great Pumpkin Drive-thru. (Photo courtesy Melissa Braun)Berwick House residents Marion Thompson and Gladys Forsburg donned their finest feather boas for the Great Pumpkin Drive-thru. (Photo courtesy Melissa Braun)
Berwick House Retirement Community hosted its annual Great Pumpkin Walk with the Grade 5 students from Hillcrest Elementary in a pandemic-friendly fashion. (Photo courtesy Melissa Braun)Berwick House Retirement Community hosted its annual Great Pumpkin Walk with the Grade 5 students from Hillcrest Elementary in a pandemic-friendly fashion. (Photo courtesy Melissa Braun)
Berwick House resident Sheila Taylor greeted attendees at the Great Pumpkin Drive-thru in her witch hat and pointy, red shoes. (Photo courtesy Melissa Braun)Berwick House resident Sheila Taylor greeted attendees at the Great Pumpkin Drive-thru in her witch hat and pointy, red shoes. (Photo courtesy Melissa Braun)
Berwick House resident Trudy Usher posed with some banjo-playing skeletons during the Great Pumpkin Drive-thru. (Photo courtesy Melissa Braun)Berwick House resident Trudy Usher posed with some banjo-playing skeletons during the Great Pumpkin Drive-thru. (Photo courtesy Melissa Braun)
Berwick House residents Harvelyn McInnes and Elaine Olmstead dressed as witches for the Great Pumpkin Drive-thru. (Photo courtesy Melissa Braun)Berwick House residents Harvelyn McInnes and Elaine Olmstead dressed as witches for the Great Pumpkin Drive-thru. (Photo courtesy Melissa Braun)

From pumpkin lanterns carved by Saanich’s littlest ghouls to grandmas in feather boas, the Berwick House annual Great Pumpkin Walk in Gordon Head was still a well-attended Halloween haunt despite the pandemic.

Every year, the residents at the Berwick House Retirement Community create a spooky experience out of pumpkins carved by the Grade 5 students at Hillcrest Elementary – the facility’s “buddy school” – and hang a myriad of other haunting decorations to spook up the facility. The two-day event held ahead of Halloween helps students and seniors get into the spirit of the holiday.

This year, the event was held on Oct. 28 and 29 as a pandemic-friendly drive-thru rather than the usual event which features decorated rooms and activities for the children.

READ ALSO: Homes get spooky across Greater Victoria ahead of Halloween

“We had 135 cars come through, 57 pumpkins on display and some amazing feedback from our community,” said Melissa Braun, the active living and marketing project coordinator at Berwick House. “The residents and kids were so happy being able to connect in a COVID-safe way.”

With so many things getting cancelled this year due to the pandemic, it was important to “keep the tradition going” as the event brings joy to all involved, she explained.

“It turned out even better than we’d hoped,” Braun said. “It was so joyful and felt so normal” with all the energy, cheerful greetings and huge smiles – all from a safe distance.

READ ALSO: Kids in costume storm Saanich retirement home for annual Pumpkin walk

Residents in lawn chairs lined the driveway – decked out in costumes – and waved to the families driving by to take in the decorations, she explained, adding that it felt like a “reverse parade.”

“Berwick does an amazing job every year of welcoming our Hillcrest community,” said teacher Sarah Ball. “It was extra special this year that they found a way to still make this event happen and came up with such a creative and fantastic way to bring happiness to both young and old.”

Braun said the Grade 5 students were “so proud of their pumpkins” and many families drove through several times to take it all in. She noted that aside from the students’ families, among the attendees were the families and former neighbours of the residents.

READ ALSO: Pandemic impacts trends in Halloween looks, says costume shop owner

They were all in costume and so happy to shout greetings to their loved ones and the students, Braun said.

“Being able to see all the carved pumpkins line the driveway was magical but my son really loved seeing the residents dressed in their costumes as they wished each other a Happy Halloween,” said Tania Ross, whose child attends Hillcrest.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

HalloweenSeniorsstudents

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Caroline Sousa, Bela Spick and her son Mateo marched along Prospect Lake Road in November 2019 to bring attention to the unsafe conditions on the road. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich reduces Prospect Lake Road speed limit to 30 km/h

New speed limit in effect as of Dec. 1 from Goward Road to Estelline Road

Royal Bay Secondary’s leadership class, comprised of Grade 9 through 12 students, is part of the student team organizing this year’s 10,000 Tonight event that shifts entirely online for 2020. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
West Shore student food drive shifts entirely online

Drive-thru option removed from 10,000 Tonight in light of COVID-19 restrictions

Colwood resident, Geoffrey Irwin, has been missing since Sep. 27. His vehicle was found in Vancouver on Nov. 25. (Courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
Police search for Colwood man last seen in September

Geoffrey Irwin’s vehicle was found in Vancouver Nov. 25

BC Transit confirmed on Dec. 1 that a Langford employee has tested positive for COVID-19. (Courtesy of BC Transit)
Langford transit worker tests positive for COVID-19

Island Health is conducting contact tracing for the case

The BCCDC has added Air Canada Jazz flight 8081 on Nov. 26 to its flight exposure list. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)
New COVID-19 exposure on flight from Vancouver to Victoria

Rows four to 10 on Air Canada Jazz flight 8081 on Nov. 26 were exposed

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Ash and Lisa Van carry a freshly cut Christmas tree while wearing personal protective masks at a Christmas Tree Farm in Egbert, Ontario, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Cole Burston
‘Everyone wants a tree and they want it now’: Christmas tree sales on pace for record

Anticipated demand for Christmas trees has sparked a rush by some to purchase more trees wholesale

Business groups have been advocating for years that local approvals for construction in B.C. are too long and restricted, and that B.C.’s outdates sales tax deter business investment. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents worried about COVID-19 deficit, business survey finds

Respondents support faster local approvals, value added tax

Most Read