Children living in Arviat, Nunavit, a small town located 150 miles north of Churchill, Manitoba, will be celebrating Halloween indoors this year, as the holiday coincides with the height of the area’s annual three-month polar bear migration. CBC News reports that polar bear encounters have increased dramatically in recent years in Arviat, and that door-to-door trick-or-treating would just be too risky.
The town Halloween celebrations will be held inside the community hall. “Picture 1,200 kids going door to door in Arviat in the middle of polar bear season,” said Steve England, the town’s senior administrative officer. “It’s a pretty obvious conclusion what tragedies could come out of that. We’re just trying to safeguard the younger population by offering an alternative.”
Residents of Arviat—the self-proclaimed “Polar Bear Capital of the World”—have reason to be cautious. One polar bear charged three young boys in August, and a sled dog was attacked and killed last month. In 2010, seven polar bears were killed by area residents in self-defense. The town currently employs a polar bear monitor, Leo Ikakhik, who helps ward off late-night visits from bears, usually with rubber bullets and firecrackers, according to Nunatsiaq Online.
Despite the change of venue, it seems that Arviat trick-or-treaters would be wise to dress up as anything that doesn’t look like a snack to these Arctic carnivores.