Trick-or-treating can be called off for bad weather, but what if the “forecast” calls for polar bears?
That’s the dilemma facing residents of Arviat, a small town on the western side of the Hudson Bay in northeastern Canada. Late fall is polar bear season, when hundreds of these massive, carnivorous bears pass through the town on their way north. So in a move to help keep more than 1,000 kids safe, the town cancelled all door-to-door trick-or-treating on Halloween night. Festivities — from games and goodies to face-painting — will be held indoors at the local community center.
— Chris Harbord (@HarbordC) October 16, 2014
While polar bears’ primary habitat lies within the Arctic Circle, the bears travel south in the summer to mate, then head back north as the weather cools — placing them in fairly close contact with Arviat’s human population of about 2,500.
Adult male polar bears can weigh up to 1,200 pounds (that’s over half a ton!) and stand up to 10 feet tall. Their massive paws act as snowshoes over ice and paddles in the water. Powerful swimmers, polar bears can easily maneuver through bone-chilling water to grab a fat-packed seal meal. While polar bears often appear white, their fur is actually free of pigment — so their coats naturally reflect light and their surroundings.
— Nick Zantop (@nickzantop) August 2, 2014
In recent years, Churchill, Manitoba has taken more drastic measures to keep Halloween trick-or-treating on the calendar. The “Polar Bear Capital of the World” has done everything from setting humane (no-kill) traps baited with seal blubber to keeping on the lookout using helicopters and police cruisers. When a bear is spotted, it’s typically scared away, or tranquilized and placed in a temporary detention facility.
While polar bears may not be in your area, we hope you have a pleasant and safe Halloween!
Be Prepared. Know Before™.
The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team