Every year, Bryan Sloat spends months carefully tending his giant pumpkin plants in preparation for a spectacular display on Halloween.
In past years, the Saanich resident went in for horror-movie themes: Chucky, the creepy doll in the movie series, and Pennywise the clown.
This year, he’s all in on the pandemic, with a trio of big pumpkins posing as the coronavirus. One is about 800 pounds (363 kilograms), another is 300 pounds (136 kg) and the little one is 150 pounds (68 kg).
To decorate the largest one, “I got walkway lights and I basically stuck them in the outside of the big one and then put those red beer cups over them.”
For the smaller pumpkins, Sloat used big nail spikes to attach the red cups to the pumpkins. Flashlights will be used to light them up.
Along with the giant coronavirus pumpkins, the display includes two mannequins. One is dressed in a nurse’s uniform and wearing a Superman T-shirt, chasing after the virus. Another depicts a senior woman sitting in a chair who appears ready to hit the virus with a broom. All will be lit up.
The nurse outfit came from a family member who is a dental hygienist, while Sloat’s mother’s wardrobe was raided for the other character.
Pumpkins were moved into place using a dolly and plywood.
Sloat’s house at 906 Dunn Ave. is a local attraction. Neighbours have told him that they are restricting trick-or-treating with their children this year, but will show up to see his display.
Mill Bay resident Stephanie Roy, who chooses a new theme for her Halloween display every year, was similarly inspired by the pandemic.
Her husband, David Crowe, helped create props for the display’s characters, and friends lent costumes, including a pair of pink shoes that, with a little creativity, were turned into Fluevog lookalikes for a skeleton version of Dr. Bonnie Henry.
She’s glad that the display is bringing attention to essential workers at the front of the COVID-19 fight.
“I’m hoping to bring a smile and a Halloween socially distant hug to as many people as I can,” she said.
— With a file from Roxanne Egan-Elliott
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