Happy Halloween ~ No Matter How You Celebrate…

Okay, the Grinch gave back Christmas—but now he stole Halloween. At least in Bathurst, New Brunswick where the Council of the day is expected to pass new rules governing trick-or-treaters this month. And I thought I was not the merriest of Halloween revelers! Anyone who has read this column knows that I have a love/hate relationship with the festivities, but at least I have not tried to limit them or banish them altogether!

Originally the bylaw was slated to make it illegal for teens over the age of 14 to “parade door-to-door dressed as ghosts and goblins”, with a cut off point of 7:00 p.m. The new rules are a little less rigid. They “forbid anyone older than 16 from trick or treating and extends the curfew to 8:00 p.m.”. Anyone caught with a “facial disguise” in public after curfew, like a zombie mask or witch’s veil, “or anyone over 16 found roaming the streets for treats can be fined up to $200.” So, any adults (which apparently takes in anyone over 16) put away the pillowcases if you reside in Bathurst.

The Deputy Mayor of the city thinks that the whole thing is “silly” and makes several points that the by-law does not address. In an interview with the media (Canadian Press and ultimately a CTV site where I gained my information), Kim Chamberlain called the whole thing “an overreach for city councillors to impose Halloween rules.” She says, and I think quite rightly, that you can “turn out your porch lights if (you) don’t want trick or treaters past a certain hour.” She also made the point that some parents do not get home until 6:00 and would have trouble feeding the kids and getting them into their costumes before the initially proposed 7:00.

City spokesman, Luc Foulem, admits the rules are a bit “kooky” but says that “no one will be running after kids on Halloween.” Which begs the question of “why have the by-law at all”? He said that the reason the bylaw is being considered is that older residents are concerned about “troublemakers”. As someone who unwillingly falls into that category, I do not want to be painted with that brush.

I am not a Halloween fanatic. You will not find any menacing décor at my house other than my little sign that reads “The Witch Is In”, which I do admit sends a message I hope will make the residents of this house, if not tremble in their boots, at least think twice before crossing me. And the fact that I have a witch’s hat and some green and black socks should not make anyone shudder (too much). Halloween is supposed to be fun, and if some us get our jollies from conjuring up our inner darker selves, then so be it. (As long as no damage to heart and soul takes place.)

I was listening to the Lynn Martin Show on AM800 (in Windsor, Ontario) the other day, and she was discussing with callers the “vanilla-izing” (my made-up word, not hers) of Halloween. Lynn asked if there should be an age ban on trick-or-treaters and admitted that she still likes to dress up and go trick or treating. To Lynn, I say, do not go to Bathurst! One of her callers said that she planned all year for Halloween—I am thinking that it is her Christmas in October—and she was quite distressed that her favourite celebration was being messed with.

Apparently different schools and organizations deal with Halloween in a variety of ways—some have tie and scarf day; some orange and black day; and some either banish it altogether, or celebrate it traditionally, with costumes and candy and parties. If I remember correctly, we did not dress up at school for Halloween, but the last period or two of the day in public school was dedicated to a party with refreshments and games. My kids were allowed to dress up early in their school careers, but by the time they reached mid-way through school I believe Halloween was somewhat curtailed.

What I do find particularly menacing at this time of year is not the debate about Halloween but those ominous little chocolate bars. We have already eaten 120 of them and I have to get another supply, but I think I will hold off, both for the benefit of my waistline and the trick or treaters who may show up on the 31st.

No matter how you celebrate Halloween, whether you are a “dark night of the soul” aficionado, or pixie dust is as hard core as you get, enjoy the day. I, myself, can be found on a park bench, reading Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” precisely at midnight on the festive eve. I will be in the Witch’s hat and robes with my striped stockings on, broom at my side, and Kitty Bob (my multi-coloured cat) dyed (non-permanent, organic) black.

Published in: on October 24, 2017 at 7:20 pm  Comments (5)