In Vancouver, British Columbia, Halloween is almost more important than Christmas, not only for children, but for every age group from 3 to 65.
Created from a mixture of traditions, originally meant to frighten away the spirits of the dead, Halloween is now an excuse for people to "let their hair down," (relax and stop acting inhibited) dress up in all kinds of wild costumes,and wander the streets of the city laughing, and acting silly.
The wonderful thing is that not one person will "bat an eyelash." ( look at them strangely) Walk downtown today or tomorrow and you will see some strange and wonderful looking people dressed in anything from vampire costumes to toothpaste boxes. They will look like they are having a wonderful time, and you'll smile because their joy is contagious.
Canadians are not a people who wear their feelings on their sleeves, or who party in the streets, so Halloween is an excuse and an opportunity for us to do just that. In many countries, this is called "carnival", or "joie de vivre", or simply public partying. In Canada, it is called Halloween, and people have come to look forward to it the whole year long.
Others make their own costumes. any fill the aisles of thrift stores like the Salvation Army or Value Village looking for something "just right." Still others spend big bucks and go to costume shops. All you need is an imagination.
Decorations and Pumpkin Carving
Vancouver has some kind of "safe" family Halloween event planned with games, spooky themes, and lots of sweets. Vancouver itself has haunted house tours, cemetary walks and even fright nights at the Playland.
For many years, the Parade of Lost Souls, a parade that featured artists, gymnasts, bands, fire throwers and a feature of other dramatic characters drew up to 30,000 people to the Commercial Street area. This year, the Parade will continue, but in a much smaller, and more secret way down some of the less well-know back alleys on the East Side.
From Saturday until Monday, every bar, club and pub will feature Halloween parties and extravaganzas, many of which will be better attended than New Years bashes, and a lot more fun. Young people, who would normally only attend one party on the weekend, will go party hopping, from friend to friends' the better to show off their well thought out costumes. Even churches have gotten into the act, with some throwing fund raising costume parties and dances for the whole family. Needless to say, none of them will serve alcohol.
These days, when people open their doors to greet the kids, they will hand out chocolate bars and packaged goodies instead of candy kisses, homemade popcorn balls, or apples. There have been too many scares for parents to allow their children to accept anything that is not tightly sealed and packaged.
By nine o'clock, things should have almost stopped. Occasionally, a group of 12 year olds wearing nothing but a face mask will come knocking on doors with their hands out for candy. At my house, the rule is no costume, no candy.
For parents who are new at the process of "trick or treating" there are some basic rules.
- Don't knock on doors unless you see at least one or more lit pumpkins.
- Have your children walk and knock on doors in groups as well as carry flashlights. They will be safer
- Kids should wear something bright and reflective. Drivers need to see them
- If a homeowner allows children to choose their own treats, kids should limit themselves to one.
- If you see that pumpkin lights have been put out, the home has run out of candy. Don't knock on the door.
By nine o'clock, the trick or treating should be all over. It's time to go home.
So, if you are reading this and live in North America, carve a pumpkin, put a candle in it and put out on your front porch. Buy some candy, and open the door to trick or treaters.
Let me know what YOU think about Halloween. I would like your opinion. Just click on the comment box.