Thursday, 30 October 2014

Thursday, or Thereabouts - October 30, 2014

Trick or Treat - the 2014 Edition

Halloween 1987

In Canada, Halloween costumes have to be both fashionable and endurable. They have to fit over snow suits and galoshes. They have to maintain their integrity in some of the wildest winds and torrential rains. Last year it was rain and wind. What will it be this year? Snow suits according to the latest weather forecast. Tomorrow will be the coldest of the season so far with what I call "snain" - that snow-rain mix that splats faces and pumpkins. There's nothing quite like a Halloween in Canada!

In school way back when, there were no costume parades or parties but still there was no shortage of Halloween themed activities, from art and music to reading, writing and yes even arithmetic. A whole week of decorations, singing, stories and math problems featuring ghosts, goblins, witches and jack-o-lanterns. It was fun and a great run up for the big night.

Honestly, I would have been horrified if I had to wear my costume IN THE DAYLIGHT, IN SCHOOL! That would have been enough to bring on a sore tummy on the morning before school for sure. My preferred characters for Trick or Treating were pirates, gypsies and tramps (no thieves - lol), and the outfits were hobbled together from stuff in the house an hour or so before heading out. The one exception was the very special year my parents bought me a pirate costume. Dad made the eye patch. My Mom was not a seamstress, but she did know a thing or two about makeup. There was an awful lot she could do with a burnt cork, baby powder and red lipstick. She also had that big jar of cold cream for getting all the stuff off afterwards.

My mother's speciality at Halloween, at any time actually, was conjured up in the kitchen. Beyond the orange and black wrapped candies, apples, peanuts in the shell and packages of sunflower seeds, many of the treats were homemade and every kid knew which house in the neighbourhood had the best ones. For years, our house was #1. Mom made popcorn balls, rounds of white popcorn held together by molasses syrup boiled to the hard crack stage. With buttered hands so the hot syrup didn't stick, Mom quickly assembled the hardball sized treats. The hot syrup always burned her hands no matter how fast she worked.

Gone now are such delectables, even the apples and peanuts are absent from the treat bag; there will be zombies and vampires out tomorrow night and probably lots of Princesses of Arendelle, but very few pirates and tramps. And it's been a very long time since I've heard anyone utter my childhood chant, "Shell out! Shell out! The witches are out!"

The 1990 Carving Fest

I've still got to carve the pumpkin and buy the treats but the resident canine is all set and ready to go.
(please note: I am neither the instigator nor the designer of canine couture. Our daughter is.)

Sophie the Snake Charmer, Halloween 2014

Happy Halloween! Be careful out there.

©2014 April Hoeller


  1. Reading about your 'vintage' version of Halloween made me nostalgic about how we used to celebrate our special days when we were kids...all home made fun and NOTHING was ever bought readymade. Love the snake charmer and his happy snake:)

    1. Thanks Arti! Simple gifts is truly what it's all about; simple but priceless.
      Best regards.