Halloween not as scary as it used to be

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District will be stepping up security to prevent damage to district property this year

Kristan Fehr is the cook in this year's Ghost Ridge haunted house

Halloween can be a scary time for local schools as vandals invariably try to target them, breaking windows, setting fires and spraying graffiti.

School board chair Ken Clarkson said the district will be stepping up security to prevent damage to district property this year.

In addition to leaving exterior lights on at all schools, the district will also be doubling security guard patrols for the weekend prior to Halloween and through Monday night, the eve of Oct. 31. District staff will be on-call all day during that time.

“The schools in central Maple Ridge seem to be the worst hit,” said Clarkson. “We see a lot of broken glass. It costs the district a lot of money, so we want to put a stop to it.”

Annually, vandalism costs the school district close to $500,000.

The district has an anti-vandalism hotline set up to help district staff and police respond quickly if someone is spotted damaging school property.

However, the hotline only works if residents use it and report suspicious activity at local schools.

“We will respond 24-7,” said Clarkson.

Garibaldi secondary principal Grant Frend said his school tries to take a proactive approach with students to prevent vandalism.

“Luckily, it hasn’t been that bad,” he said. “We do a lot of community-building events within the school, and I think that’s helping. The kids recognize that this is their school, and when they take ownership of it, they’re less likely to [commit acts of vandalism].”

Maple Ridge Fire Chief Dane Spence said the 2004 bylaw banning the sale and possession of fireworks has led to a decrease in fire-related calls on Halloween.

“Since family fireworks were taken out of the equation, there’s been a lot less spot fires and fireworks-related calls,” he said. “It can be a busy night, but it’s markedly different than how it used to be.”

However, Spence warned that jack-o-lantern candles and sparklers can still pose a fire risk, and recommended trick-or-treaters wear reflective gear to make sure they can be seen by passing motorists in the dark.

Halloween won’t be completely without fireworks, as the Maple Ridge Lions Club are sponsoring a free public fireworks display on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m.


To report an act of vandalism or suspicious activity at a public school in Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, call 604-466-HELP (4357). The hotline is open 24 hours.

Just Posted

Timberline offers a traditional country Christmas

Kids get pony rides, decorate cookies, visit petting zoo and more

Maple Ridge student training dog to help her with anxiety

Becky, a papillon, is training to become a fully certified service dog

Meadowridge class finalists in nationwide music competition

The national contest is put on by CBC Music in association with MusiCounts

Conservation searching for shot bear in Maple Ridge

Conservation officers believe the bear to be mortally wounded

Untrending: You have arrived at so sorry to hear

I decided to treat myself to a 2020 hybrid.

Christmas concert at Maple Ridge secondary

More performances in the park this Friday and Saturday

Pacioretty scores 2, Golden Knights top Canucks 6-3

Vegas goalie Fleury gets win No. 452

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

VIDEO: Giants edged out by Everett

Another case where Vancouver outshot an opponent, but couldn’t get past the other goalie

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Surrey councillor wants the policing transition process to ‘immediately stop’

Brenda Locke to make motion at Dec. 16 meeting to reconsider current plan

Man pleads guilty to second-degree murder in 2017 Stanley Park stabbing

Lubomir Kunik was found by a man out walking his dog on the beach late on Feb. 1, 2017

Most Read