Tag: halloween

Five things Halloween tells us about life in Canada?

Is Halloween scary?
Is Halloween scary?

Halloween is one of the major events of the year in Canada. What are the five things that Halloween tells us about life in Canada?

1. Canadians love kids

Halloween is for the kids. Trick or treating happens on Halloween and all the little kids dress up and go around in groups, with a watchful parent or two, and knock on all the neighbourhood doors. It is a chance for everyone to admire just how cute the kids are and hand out some candy.

2. It’s good to be good neighbours

Trick or treating would not work if neighbours weren’t good neighbours. Knocking on the door and being sent away empty handed just doesn’t happen. Instead we all stock up on candy and have it ready for the hordes of cute, little kids that we’re expecting.

3. Canadians have a sense of fun

Wander around just about any neighbourhood at this time of the year and you will see extravagantly decorated homes. They have elaborate scenes set out on the lawn, with gravestones, ghostly figures, and bloody bodies. And all of this is to delight and entertain the local kids and adults.

4. Canadians are generous

These decorated front yard scenes are most often accompanied by a charity donation box. At great effort, and some expense, these householders have set their ghoulish imagination to work for a local charity.

5. Canadians are inclusive

It was a shock to me on my first Halloween in Canada to see adults in shops and offices dressed up in Halloween costumes. Even adults want to join in. It doesn’t matter what kind of costume it is – it doesn’t have to be scary – it’s just a chance for everyone to join in the fun.

Sinking my teeth into Halloween
Sinking my teeth into Halloween

Now I really look forward to Halloween. I haven’t decided what costume to wear, but at least I have the candy ready!


Garden in North Vancouver all tricked out for Halloween
Garden in North Vancouver all tricked out for Halloween

I don’t really get halloween in Canada. Of course we did not have halloween in England – only a pale and uninteresting version of it ever made it across the pond. But here in Canada it is BIG.

Many homes have some halloween decorations outside – perhaps a pumpkin or three. Or some witch or scarecrow stood up by the door. All these are signals that the trick or treaters are welcome. But some people really go overboard on decorating their homes. The whole front yard becomes a graveyard, with headstones, witches, skeletons and the like arranged tastelessly around. Many have lights at night – that enhances the ghoulish experience.

One of my friends has a place that she’s been tricking out for days. Her husband does the lighting for rock bands but they still have to hire in extra lights and props. They have painted drop cloths that cover the whole front of the house turning it into a castle.

This is supposed to be for kids. And mostly it is. But adults seem to get a real thrill out of the whole thing. It is cute to see the little trick or treaters out on the 31st (and they don’t go out on other days). But adults and older kids will also have parties. Spending time and effort on the perfect costume.

The strange thing is the way such ghoulish themes – witches, monsters, ghosts and skeletons – are treated as normal. Kids see them everywhere. In the hospital wards, even the acute care wards, there are skulls and skeletons cheerfully adorning the walls. I guess it is not horror if it is so common place.

Enjoy you halloween candy.

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