Halloween is the best day on the planet. As a very shy kid, it was so fun to be able to transform into something that I was not for a few hours. Plus, it was the only time of the year when my parents actively encouraged my sister and I to go out and take free candy from strangers.
When I was growing up in Burns Lake, months of Halloween costume planning was always ruined by the first major blizzard of the year. The two events coincided religiously. When I hear kids in my Kitsilano neighbourhood whine about having to walk up and down stairs to get treats, I twinge with the impulse to tell stories about how, when I was young, I trudged through five foot snow drifts to get a single treat sized Snickers bar… but I digress…
Despite the blizzards in Burns Lake, the people handing out the candy were always so supportive and enthusiastic.
“Hey! What a great costume,” they would say to the hordes of kids in identical snow boots, snowsuits, mittens and balaclavas that would parade to their door asking for treats. We looked like a casting call for an episode of South Park, but in our minds we were so different.
My costumes were never cute or scary. They were “creative”. While all my comrades were pirates, princesses or zombies, I would be Muriel Applebottom – Bunny Hunter Extrodinaire, or My Dad’s Box of Tangled Christmas Lights or The Lost Panel of a Bazooka Joe Comic Strip. Needless to say, most of my costumes were not met with an “OOOO…how cute” or an “Awwww…adorable”, they were met with an “Oh, and what are you again?” Still I wore my costumes with conviction and people gave me candy anyway, so they rocked!
My mom’s expensive, guest use only, King sized silk pillow cases were the preferred treat bag of choice but it was often hard to sneak them out of the house before she noticed. Although, one year, I did use my cousin’s hockey duffle bag until some judgemental lady ruined my fun when she called me “greedy”. Mostly, I just used a Hefty garbage bag. Because rippage could be a problem it was important to come prepared with backup bags and maybe a sled.
Out on the hunt, it was amazing how quickly information spread on the kid treat network. With no twitter, facebook, or texting, to link us, we mind-melded together with the singular purpose of getting as much sugar as possible. By remaining connected to the kid treat network, you quickly knew which houses gave out two chocolate bars instead of one, which were making you sing, which were giving out raisins….and which were giving out CANS OF POP!!!
I know kids in here in Kits stay out collecting candy until they get tired or bored, but in Burns Lake, we stayed out until medically ordered indoors due to frostbite or hypothermia. Hard core does not accurately describe an 8 year old Burns Lake kid on a mission for candy.
Arriving home with our loot, my parents insisted on inspecting all treats for safety concerns. Surprisingly, there was a high ratio of tainted Aero bars and Glosette raisins (my parents’ favourites) but we were too hyped up and inexperienced in the ways of the world to realize that our own parents were stealing from us.
The next two days began the hierarchy of snacking. We would eat through our treat bag like layers of an archaeological dig. Chocolate bars were eaten first. Then Tootsie rolls Then Glosette peanuts. And then….ugh….because there was nothing else left, jaw breakers, Pez circles and gum. It would take two to three days of concentrated effort to consume all the sugar in those king sized pillow case bags. But we did it!! Once it was all done, we crashed in a sugar coma for two weeks….and woke up just in time to start dreaming of all the treats coming for Christmas!!