Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hallowe'en (sour) Apples!

Tonight is Hallowe'en. You might be wondering why I have enough time to write a blog post when I should be answering the door for 100's of little ghosts and goblins. It's because I'm sitting in my room with the rest of the house lights turned off. Especially the porch light, which stays on the other 364 days of the year. Although I suppose to be technical, this year it's 365 other nights...

First, lets get a few things out of the way. Do kids today (good lord I'm old) realize how good they have it? It's above zero and there is no snow. There was not a costume I owned that didn't go over a full snowsuit and Sorels were the mandatory footwear for the FOOT OF SNOW we had to wade through. Oh, and there were no pillowcases and giant reusable bags for collecting candy in. No no no, we had these:

This meant that inevitably you had to return home several times (losing precious candy gathering time) to dump out your haul and start again.

Moving on. So, I was feeling a little guilty for not handing out candy yet again this year. This is my 7th Hallowe'en here in the North End. I missed my first one because I was working in Churchill, MB (where, as an interesting fact, they have volunteers circling town on snowmobiles keeping an eye out for any polar bears looking for a seasonal treat) but in 2007, look out world, I was prepared!

I laboured over my candy choices and when I finally felt I had the perfect variety I spent time putting together little perfect Hallowe'en themed ziploc bags full of candy. I was prepared.

What I was NOT prepared for was to be overwhelmingly disappointed.

Instead of adorable little kids (yes, me, I just referred to children as adorable. I'm unlikely to do that again so maybe mark this down) in costumes I got sullen teenagers in hoodies and masks from Dollarama holding open pillowcases. Generally not even a "Trick or treat!" or "Hallowe'en Apples!" just a doorbell ring. The small children who did (sort of) come to the door were usually under about a year old, fast asleep, being pushed in a stroller by their teenage mother who was not in a costume. Call it a hunch, but I don't think the candy was for the babies. The even cheekier ones would hold out a second bag "for the other kid, who's at home". Yeah. Right.

I seriously almost cried when it was all over, this was not the Hallowe'en I had dreamed of! Now, I am very aware that my neighbourhood has some economic constraints. A six year old in a mask from Dollarma (or no costume at all) will of course get candy. Hell, a 47 year old in a full costume will get candy - the trade off for spending my hard earned money on candy is getting to see the costumes; I have my own economic constraints too.

I decided to go and evaluate my block, perhaps I could be shamed back into giving out Hallowe'en candy for next year?

Not likely. For shits and giggles I counted how many houses on my block had the "I'm home vibe". FIVE. And one of those is borderline. I think maybe their sheets as drapes just didn't block out all of the light from their living room. 5/40. I suppose to be fair, one of those 40 is boarded, and another one is the abandoned one with the rear section of the house caving in, but that doesn't really make it much better.

So, while Hallowe'en only seems to get even more popular (how that's even possible I'm not sure) it seems as though at least my street has basically given up. This makes me feel less guilty but more sad.


  1. We're about the same age and I always used a pillowcase while trick or treating.

    I can understand your disappointment. I'd be really down about that, too, and not participate. What if you would buy less candy and only have the "I'm home" vibe for a lesser period of time? Or what about volunteering at the Indian & Metis Friendship Centre for their Safe Halloween Event next year? You can see lots of cute kids in costumes then.

    1. Skinartia, great idea about the Family Centre!

      I suppose you're right, by the end of my trick or treating days pillowcases were the norm.

      I guess what really just disappoints me is feeling like I'm not helping to create that memory that I hold so fondly. We never went to the mall or community centre to go trick or treating - we went to the neighbours. People we knew would pretend not to recognize us in our costumes, the rush of warm air every time the door opened at another house - that sort of thing.

  2. Lots of things are different now from when we (I think we're about the same age) were young. Remember Unicef boxes? I was sad to hear they phased those out a few years ago. I miss that old Halloween "feeling" too.

    In Glenelm there are lots of the same types of trick or treaters you describe (babies in strollers, teens with no costumes). This year for various reasons we didn't give out candy, and I realize now that I didn't miss it at all. I felt pretty jaded after the last couple years.

    It's weird. The last year that I went out trick or treating, I was in Grade 8, and I distinctly remember feeling vaguely ashamed because I realized pretty quickly that night that I was now too old to be doing it. I would think that that realization comes naturally to everyone at some point, but I guess not. Sugar is pretty addictive, after all :)

  3. "...and another one is the abandoned one with the rear section of the house caving in..."

    Still? Amazing how the By-law guys "hands are tied".

    Once upon a time a Building Inspector could look at a building, consider it "structurally unsound" and order it demolished. Health could do the same thing. They'd mow down anything they could, and put the tab on the tax bill of the property. They tore down dozens of viable houses around the turn of the millennium.

    Where did it all go wrong?