October 31st. is Hallowe’en! Not all countries celebrate this annual eve of spooks, witches and goblins. In fact, as some countries, like Australia, are just getting into the fun, many people in Canada are opting out of this tradition that has been around for generations.
Why is that? Is it getting too expensive? Is it too gruesome? Have we forgotten why we celebrate Hallowe’en in the first place?
Moving away from Hallowe’en activities could be due to all of the commercialism that surrounds the day. Did you know that in Canada, Hallowe’en is the second largest grossing retail event, next to Christmas?
In many cases, it’s not necessarily the young kids who are into this buying frenzy: it’s the parents. It is actually quite sad to see so many houses decorated with, in some cases, very expensive decorations. Of course, there are plenty of dollar stores selling lots of plastic, non-recyclable decorations as well.
There was a time when families would be creative and made decorations and even their costumes from things around their homes. Costumes were made by the kids or sewn by moms. It was exciting to see the little princess ball gowns made from mom’s old dresses or even the old lace kitchen curtains. There were many cowboy outfits constructed from dad’s old shirts and hats. There were lots of theme costumes, too. Remember when Sonic the Hedgehog and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were the hot costumes? The costumes were not as gruesome or evil as they seem to be today. Do we really need to dress in blood-drenched or missing body parts costumes? Should our young children be exposed to these gruesome costumes and decorations? I think not!
When I was young, we couldn’t afford to buy candy or chips. Even though potato chips only cost 10 cents a package, we were not able to buy any.
Needless to say, I looked forward to Hallowe’en. I went out for candy with my brother and sister. We made our costumes out of paper bags or mom’s old nylon stockings. I also recall that we used old lipsticks and eyebrow pencils to draw on our faces. The stockings were the best, I think, because when pulled tight, they could really distort our faces! Now that was a “zombie” look!
My earliest recollection of going Trick-or-Treating was when I was 6 years old. As soon as it got dark out, 4:30 or 5:00pm, we would dress in our warmest clothes and decorate our faces. It usually snowed on or before October 31st. and it was often very cold outside. The temperatures usually dropped to minus 10 or colder, just in time for Halloween night.
I remember thinking that I could fool our neighbours and they’d never know it was me! I was quite disappointed one year when an elderly neighbour said to me, “Hi Petrosha”. I was taken aback. I remember thinking, “How in the world did he know it was me?” When I asked, he said, “Every year you have the same brown Hallowe’en bag!” I decided then and there that next year I would use a pillow case just like my brother.
I wonder whatever happened to that old brown bag?
With memories of happy times gone by, I wish all of you a safe and fun-filled Hallowe’en!
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