Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks with his son Hadrien as they go trick or treating at Rideau Hall on Halloween in Ottawa on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has always seemed to relish dressing up for trick or treating with his kids but, in the wake of the blackface scandal, he’s giving Halloween a miss this year, publicly anyway.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks with his son Hadrien as they go trick or treating at Rideau Hall on Halloween in Ottawa on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has always seemed to relish dressing up for trick or treating with his kids but, in the wake of the blackface scandal, he’s giving Halloween a miss this year, publicly anyway.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

After blackface scandal, Trudeau shuns photo ops of trick or treating

Trudeau will ‘be trick or treating with the kids, but not going to Rideau Hall or doing a photo op’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has always seemed to relish dressing up for trick or treating with his children but, in the wake of the blackface scandal, he’s giving Halloween a miss this year — publicly anyway.

A spokesman for the prime minister says Trudeau will ”be trick or treating with the kids, but not going to Rideau Hall or doing a photo op.”

His newfound reticence to be photographed in costume on the night of ghouls and goblins comes after the mortifying revelation during the recent election campaign that Trudeau had on at least three occasions in his youth donned blackface or brownface.

The Liberals were rocked during the first week of the campaign when a yearbook photo emerged of Trudeau in brownface as part of an elaborate Aladdin costume worn to a 2001 Arabian Nights party at the Vancouver private school where he was a teacher.

Another picture and a video of a teenaged Trudeau in blackface subsequently came to light, further damaging his image as a champion of diversity and inclusion.

He apologized profusely for not recognizing at the time that darkening his skin with makeup was a racist act.

“The fact of the matter is that I’ve always — and you’ll know this — been more enthusiastic about costumes than is sometimes appropriate,” he told reporters at a hastily assembled news conference aboard the Liberal campaign plane on the night that the first explosive photo emerged in a Time magazine article.

That admission seemed to harken back to Trudeau’s ill-fated trip to India last year, during which he was roundly criticized for sporting a variety of traditional Indian garb.

READ MORE: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh reacts to Trudeau’s brownface photo

However, Trudeau’s choice of Halloween costumes since becoming prime minister hasn’t generated particular controversy in the past.

Among other things, he has gone trick or treating with his three children dressed as Han Solo of Star Wars fame, and as the pilot in the Little Prince.

Trudeau also once showed up in the House of Commons in a usual business suit, but sporting black-rimmed glasses and a Superman costume peeking out from beneath his shirt.

Trudeau’s more private Halloween celebration this year may also reflect a broader strategy to keep a lower profile during his second mandate. Some Liberal insiders believe he’s been over-exposed and could benefit from keeping his distance from cameras for a while.

ALSO READ: How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

Since winning a strong minority of seats last week, Trudeau has held one post-election news conference but otherwise been invisible as he plots how to navigate through a Parliament in which the Liberals’ survival will depend on gaining the support of at least one opposition party on confidence matters.

He intends to swear-in a new cabinet on Nov. 20, but it’s uncertain whether he’ll recall Parliament before Christmas.

Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kitselas First Nation received a round of COVID-19 vaccine shots. (Kitselas First Nation image)
Kitselas receives COVID-19 vaccine

Delivery of vaccine was expedited after cluster of cases in community

Northern Health has issued COVID-19 exposure notices for Uplands Elementary School and Centennial Christian School in Terrace. (COVID-19/ CDC Image)
Two more COVID-19 exposure notices issued for schools in Terrace

Exposures took place at Uplands Elementary School and Centennial Christian School

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

Most Read