Halloween: Changes come with every generation

To the delight of countless children, the night of witches, ghosts and goblins will soon return, to frighten little hearts once again as it has done in the past for generations of Canadians. Oh how I can identify with the excitement felt by children on Halloween night as memories of trick or treating fly into my 73 year old mind, like a witch riding side-saddle at supersonic speed on a broom of straw.

Back in my day, when it came to children running like antelopes from one door to the next, no child was left behind. The children of the well-off families and those of the impoverished, stood side by side as equals at the homes of candy givers (actually, in my day the treats were mostly apples and candy kisses, one each per bag). Still, Halloween was a fun-filled few hours for all the youngsters of the town. And I stress, no child was left behind.

I remember well that after teen years began, Halloween was no longer about treats and scary customs. It became a night where the focus was more on the ‘trick’ part of the night. Some of the teenagers went too far. I vividly recall a Halloween night when some boys, likely raised by Bonnie-and-Clyde-type of parents, broke into a chicken house down the street from the Dumont household. The ruthless, wayward teens violently let all the hens loose, sending the panicked birds clucking hysterically into the deep, dark night, some of them never to be seen again. The old bachelor brothers who owned the chickens weren’t impressed. They were elderly men living hand to mouth! The old guys didn’t deserve such a “trick” to be played on them. All their neighbours were upset as well, the Dumonts included. In those days, an assault on one neighbour was seen as an attack on all people living just doors away. Such pranks/tricks often happened in small-town Canada on Halloween night in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Not good!

Back in the 1950’s I recall white people saying that Halloween had its origins with the Indigenous Peoples of this land. It was said that the “Indian” medicine people would put a frightening mask over their faces to scare away sickness from a family or community member. Any truth to this? You tell me!

Maybe it was about 25 years ago or so that stories of pins and razor blades being found in Halloween apples began circulating. A lot of parents believed the stories and took the extreme measure of no longer allowing their children to go door to door for trick or treating. A foolish decision in my opinion. Was a razor blade or pin ever found in a Halloween apple? Not that I’m aware.

Halloween should be safe, exciting and joyful and perhaps a little bit scary to a child. Good memories, happy ones are so very important for a child to experience. If children have them, we can be more confident that they (the children) will grow up to be sensible and mature adults.

For the occasion, I saw a pumpkin, round and orange. I said to myself, “Hey, it looks like Trump.” So I carved a face into it and said, “Behold, a Trumpkin!” It isn’t a Jack-o-Lantern though, it’s a “Wacko-Lantern”.

Keep the Circle Strong,

South Wind (Albert Dumont)

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