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

(Black Press Media file photo)
Police arrest man covered in blood on heels of significant Saanich crash into woods

Resident calls in home invasion in progress after crash

Nikita, a four-year-old German Shepherd that was attacked by a buck in a backyard in Esquimalt Sunday is lucky the injury wasn't more severe. (Photo contributed by Suzette Goldsworthy)
Esquimalt dog owner issues alert after deer injures German shepherd

Nikita needed stitches after an early morning encounter

(Left to right) Saanich Predators assistant captain Jack Groves, captain Joe Stafford-Veale, assistant captain Jacob King and assistant captain Riley Wiens show off one of the team’s three new jerseys featuring the orca logo. (Photo courtesy Christine Gleed)
Saanich Predators junior hockey team breaks in new logo, jerseys

Junior B hockey team rebrands after 53 years

Capital Regional District Animal Control say an eight-month-old Rottweiler bit a Langford mother and her child near Glen Lake on Nov. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Large dog attacks mother and child in Langford

Mother puts three-year-old on top of car to protect him

The Victoria Police Department headquarters. (Black Press Media file photo)
Investigation launched into man’s death after arrest in Victoria

IIO investigation to determine if police actions or inaction played a role in the man’s death

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

Most Read