“It is fast. It is efficient. It is a lot of fun for the kids as well,” Geoff Burke, owner of Watermark Plumbing Services and creator of the Candy Chute Challenge in Toronto, said Saturday afternoon.
“The kids have had such a tough year not being in school, not seeing their friends.”
Global News spoke with Burke while in the process of creating a couple of the 400 chutes ordered to date. He said he was inspired to bring the concept to Toronto after seeing a social media post by a man in the United States.
With the idea in mind, Burke said he decided to launch a fundraiser on a couple of local Facebook groups in aid of the Daily Bread Food Bank — offering the chutes for a minimum donation of $25 to the Daily Bread Food Bank.
“Within two days we had more than 400 responses. We had to shut it down. That was really our capacity … tubes, time, everything. We’re working on a short timeframe before Halloween,” he said.
The chutes, which get affixed to stair railings, are a simple yet effective way to distribute candy from a distance.
Burke takes lengthy sections of tube, spraypaints the tubes orange and wraps black tape on the outside. While standing at the top of the stairs, it allows residents to drop candy or snacks down to the child’s bag below — adhering to physical distancing guidelines by public health and minimizing contact.
Health and government officials have encouraged people to think twice trick-or-treating. But for those who choose to do so, it was recommended to limit the group size.
“If you choose to go out trick-or-treating, only go out with members of your immediate household,” Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang, the Region of Waterloo’s acting medical officer of health, recently said.
“Physically distance and wear a face covering with anyone outside of your immediate household.”
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief medical officer of health, echoed Wang’s comments.
“Trick-or-treaters and people handing out candy should wear a face covering, not a costume mask,” she explained.
“A costume mask is not a substitute for a face covering and should not be worn over a face covering.”
Wang encouraged those handing out candy to not leave the treats in a bowl for anyone to grab and to dispense treats with tongs or a similar tool. She also suggested parents remind their children to wait their turn, adhering to the two-metre physical distancing guideline, when collecting candy before quickly moving on to the next home.
Meanwhile, even though Burke said he doesn’t have the ability to manufacture additional chutes, he hopes people will still consider donating to food banks.
“They really need the money right now. It’s a really tough time for them,” Burke said.
“The lines have been really huge for them.”
According to the campaign’s donation site, more than $5,100 of the $10,000 goal was raised for Daily Bread Food Bank.
— With files from Kevin Nielsen