Monday, October 27, 2008
Halloween is a big deal in Canada. Houses and yards get decorated with scary stuff, kids decide what they're going to "go as" and plan the routes that will get them the most and the best goodies on Halloween eve, October 31. Little ones are taken door-to-door by their parent(s) who stand at the sidewalk while the little ghost/Batman/devil/princess comes up to the door, yells "trick or treat" and opens up the loot bag to receive the coveted candy. Older, savvier kids get to ditch the parents and roam on their own.
When I was a little kid in Ashern, Manitoba (150 miles north of Winnipeg), the traditions were different from what they are now. We didn't yell "trick or treat" - we yelled "Halloween Apples!" And we used to get lots of apples - more than candies - and sometimes a homemade popcorn ball. Nowadays only wrapped candies are given out, for fear that there will be something dangerous in an apple or a homemade treat. Then, in Ashern, after someone came to their door, you had to do a "trick" before you got your "treat". We used to have to tell a joke or sing a song or recite a poem - one guy I knew was really good at crossing his eyes, together or one at a time, and that was his act for the evening. If someone didn't give out treats, the older kids would play another kind of "trick" on them - the most daring and admired of which was carefully moving the outhouse back 5 feet so when some poor old guy came out to go to the outhouse in the middle of the night, he'd fall in the hole. Much frowned upon by the grownups; devilishly encouraged by the kids. Ah, for the good ole days!
It occurs to me that Halloween may be a big deal here in Canada and the U.S., but where else? What, if anything, is Halloween where you live?