issues and experts

Tracking treaters, appropriate outfits and un-settling spiders—SFU experts on Halloween

October 29, 2019

Ian Bryce, University Communications and Marketing, 236-880-2187,

The following experts can speak to Halloween (or Halloween-themed) topics:

Costume or Cultural Heritage?

This Halloween some children and adults will dress in costumes that some may find offensive. These include Native American princesses, hula dancers and sheiks—some inspired by Disney movies targeted at children. Annually, this prompts debate and anger from those who hate to see their culture turned into a stereotype.

SFU archaeology professor George Nicholas has previously written about cultural appropriation in Sapiens and is available to speak to this topic and why the better targets for cultural appropriation faux pas are those occurring the rest of the year.

George Nicholas, archaeology, 778.782.5709,



Come Halloween, will your neighbourhood be full of zombie hordes or a veritable ghost town?

Andy Yan, director of SFU’s City program, will track which Metro Vancouver neighbourhoods are the best for lucrative Trick-or-Treaters with #treatcount2019. In addition to finding the best candy cornucopia, the exercise provides metrics on neighbourhood walkability, social connectedness and urban planning—an example of Community Data Science, SFU City Program’s latest course offering.  

Andy Yan, City Program, 778.782.5081,


Spiders’ Home-sense

When people look for a home it comes down to location, location, location. But when false black widow spiders search for a home, it's all webs, webs, webs. New research from Simon Fraser University determines that these spiders look for architectural features—such as existing webbing—when deciding where to settle. Even Halloween decoration webbing may be a big 'spiders welcome here' sign for spiders looking for a home.

SFU biological sciences PhD student, and study lead author Andreas Fischer is can comment on this research.

Andreas Fischer, Biological Sciences, 778.782.5939,