All Hallows' Eve

I grew up in Winnipeg and we didn't say, "Trick or Treat".  On October 31st, exactly, no matter what night of the week it was, we would dress up in something or other - maybe mother's earrings, or curtain rings on string around the ears, some bright red lipstick and a fancy shawl, to be a gypsy - and we would take an old pillow case to be a loot bag, and we would go door-to-door singing "Hallowe'en Apples!".  I never found anyone else, from any other city, who used that as the magic phrase to cadge candy. 

I was never able to sew. If I lose a button I might as well throw the garment away. But my peak achievement was a Hallowe'en costume I made for my oldest child, a girl. It was unisex so it was passed down to the others: girl, boy, boy.  They went, each in her/his turn, as a pumpkin. It was a round orange bag with sleeves, and with drawstrings at neck and top of the legs. The body was stuffed with tissue paper to make it fat like a pumpkin.  Green tights and a green helmet completed the costume.  It was ideal for Winnipeg weather; you could wear loads of clothes under the pumpkin façade. 

Ah yes, Winnipeg weather.  Our first Hallowe'en in Stratford, I loaded the clothes on the kids so they would be warm enough for their cold, nocturnal adventure.  They came home after half an hour, in a lather, begging to take off some of the layers I had loaded on them.  

And now, oh, now - Hallowe'en, or the Saturday nearest to it, but I guess a Friday like tonight is okay - it's almost a national holiday. Not only are the costumes ornate, detailed and expensive but so are the houses, many of them decorated as lavishly as at Christmas, but not as jolly. Skulls adorn fence posts, witches grimace in the trees, clutching hands reach up out of the ground.  And so-called grown-ups have parties, boy, do they have parties.  I's a good thing the time changes back to Standard Time right about now and grants the post-party people  an extra hour to help them recover from Hallowe'en.