My first North American Halloween (for Cat)

If Canadians celebrate Christmas the way they celebrate Halloween then I’m in for a visual treat. This last month the air has been full of child-like anticipation for the spookiest day of the year with shops windows (of all kinds) demonstrating the various ways pumpkins can be used to make a decorative display.

Pumpkins also appeared on people’s doorsteps

…and some houses really got into the spirit of gore and horror!

I got used to seeing bits of limbs on people’s front lawns (I’ll be truly concerned if this continues into November!)

As well as the grim reaper peering round the corner.

There were gravestones.

And someone obviously wanted to out-do everyone else…(I didn’t check if anyone was inside the coffin)

Spiderwebs could be purchased at the local pound store (Dollarama)

And, again, someone probably wanted to out-do everyone else with this bad boy spider web!

The holes in the pumpkins above were made by the squirrels burrowing into them because why should they miss out on Halloween!?

And some people kept the decoration a bit more simple.

We got involved too! The photo below is of the house the day after Halloween. It is missing a skeleton head and an owl, which disappeared mysteriously, as well as lit candles so don’t judge too much! Notice we put out a limb too, which my aunt keeps stored in a cupboard (I’m really glad I knew beforehand!)

I had the privilege of handing out candy to kids who came knocking at the door from 6pm onwards. According to my cousin, kids in Canada learn a few rules about Halloween at primary school, one of which is that if there’s no lit pumpkin outside a house then they’re not open for candy-giving business. We decided last minute to be a part of Halloween and rushed out to get a pumpkin but they were all sold out. It’s kind of like trying to buy a Christmas tree on Christmas eve.

But apparently having the lights on and some spider webs was enough to attract some attention. Although, at one point, I opened the door and shouted at the kids across the road to ‘come get some candy!’ which, according to my cousin, might’ve given the neighbours the wrong impression. Both my uncle and my cousin coached me on the trick-or-treating etiquette. I had to make sure the kids said ‘trick or treat’ before giving them candy otherwise they would get the idea that we’re just a candy-dispensing machine. I also learned how much candy to give the kids after we ran out of our first bowl of sweets in the first 15 minutes (the kids were so cute it was hard to resist but I got tough fast!)

My uncle made the mistake of telling me that I needed to be scarier when opening the door and the next time I heard a knock I pulled the door open sharply and let out the biggest roar I could manage, only to see two little boys whose height exceeded not much more than my knees standing in front of me. The one dressed as spider man was breathing quickly and I think I may have almost induced an asthma attack. My aunt shouted from upstairs that ‘we’re going to have complaints from the neighbours!’ And I imagined apologising in the most English accent I can muster. I succeeded in getting a better balance of scary after that.

The parents were having as much if not more fun on Halloween, which seemed to be an excuse to teach their kids a bit of etiquette (one 4 year-old dressed as a chef ran down the steps saying ‘I said ‘merci’ mommy!…Daddy!’) And some trick or treaters greeted me with ‘Happy Halloween’ like they were saying it for the 100th time and could no longer could remember how to force their mouths open into a smile. Halloween showed me how childish Canadians can get (in a good way) and I’m definitely going to miss this holiday.