No More Popular Fox Run Halloween Display
For years, Shawn Gusz’s residence has been a go-to spot for fans of Halloween and Christmas displays in Puslinch and surrounding areas. However, a newly discovered $150 fee, following an approved permit application for a scaled-down Halloween setup at his Fox Run Drive home, seems to be the tipping point.
Gusz pulled his permit application after discovering the unexpected charge. He had initially applied for a simple display that wouldn’t require police presence, describing it as “nothing over the top, no different than any well decorated home anywhere in the township or city.”
Although no one opposed his application, Gusz was blindsided by the additional $150 fee. Citing “out of principle and general frustration,” he decided to withdraw his application.
The permit requirement came into effect in March 2022, when the Puslinch council enacted a bylaw. This was in response to complaints about traffic congestion caused by people visiting Gusz’s displays. Last year, his Halloween display was smaller, and he was prohibited from promoting it on social media.
Fast forward to Christmas 2022, Gusz was informed he’d need to hire a police officer to manage traffic if his display included video or audio, due to raised concerns. “Essentially anything that could encourage people to stop and look, we need to have police on site,” he stated.
His Christmas permit last year was valid from December 19 to 26 in the evening. However, the display couldn’t run on days when police were unavailable. “Last year, I think we had six or seven scheduled nights,” he noted. “Police couldn’t make two of them which they told us in advance, one night last minute we were told they couldn’t come.”
This year, Gusz feels too swamped with work to navigate additional requirements for what he considers a community-enjoyed hobby. The permit withdrawal was announced on the township’s website, which clarified that a permit is only needed for publicized or disruptive displays.
As Halloween approaches with the application withdrawn, what’s Gusz’s plan? “We might just do some basic decorating,” he said.