Parents in Toronto, Ottawa and several other populous regions in Ontario are being told not let their children trick-or-treat this Halloween.

With COVID-19 numbers in the province high, Ontario’s chief medical officer made the announcement Monday to the disappointment of many families.

“We are recommending not to celebrate in the normal door-to-door way,” said Dr. David Williams, who cautioned that children tend to huddle together and compare candy during traditional trick-or-treating.

"They share stuff, they say 'OK, I’ll give you some of mine,' back and forth. There is a lot to chatter and close contact, and sometimes with adults too at the same time.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford backed the idea, despite his own reservations.

“You think I like doing this? I hate doing this,” said Ford. “Halloween’s important to the kids, it means everything. I don’t like doing this, but we have to do it to keep everyone safe.”

COVID-19 numbers are also on the rise in British Columbia, but B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry isn’t considering asking parents to keep their kids from trick-or-treating.

“We are all experiencing our own pandemic, and here in B.C. we have managed to relatively control our community spread,” said Henry. “When we think about the trick-or-treating, it’s outside, (in a) relatively low-risk environment.”

Henry beleives the ceremony of trick-of-treating on Halloween is important to children, but it will be different this year. “It needs to be small, we need to have distancing, and we need to really, really respect that some people don’t want to play this year.”

Henry is encouraging small, family groups go door to door, and for those putting the light on for trick-or treaters, innovative ways to hand out candy. “One of my parent friends was talking about having a tube or a little line with clips where they can put little packages down to children at a distance. So I think there are lots of things we can do it to make it safe,” she said.

Henry doesn’t want to see kids reaching into big candy bowls at the door or large groups going to houses outside their neighborhood.

“This can’t be the year where we are going to have hundreds of kids going to hundreds of houses in large groups. That can’t happen,” said Henry. “This has to be Halloween in the time of a pandemic.”