The pumpkin was carved (and ingeniously named Scary!), the treats were ready and waiting on the ledge by the door, the batteries in the light-up pumpkins had been replaced and a huge pot of pumpkin soup was simmering on the stove. As darkness fell, Scary had the requisite candle inserted and was appointed doorman, relegated to the porch to glowingly greet any spooks who came to call.
Dinner was a rushed affair, the kids were jittery, excitement bubbling beneath the surface, bursting out whenever the doorbell rang! I lost count of the number of mass exodus’ from the table. Canadian Trick-or-Treaters are a lot more polite than British ones and will only take one item when presented with a basket of chocolate, a bowl of jellybeans and some neon-coloured jelly worms. Finally, just after 7pm, we headed out to join the fight to help rid our neighbours of that well-known scourge, otherwise known as Confectionery.
The air was chilly but nowhere near as frosty-feeling as it was last year. The neighbourhood was alive with the shrieks of over-excited kids and that festive vibe that makes your tummy somersault for no apparent reason. I guess excitement is infectious. We greeted the various inhabitants of our small crescent, people we didn’t know from Adam last year, now known by name or sight, and they cooed and aaahhed over the kids costumes. By the time we had reached the end of our small road, the basket was brimming with goodies, so K went back to get the wagon, not with a view to filling it mind, but as back-up for when our runaway Zeeeebra ran out of puff! Snow-White and the Giraffe seemed undiminished so it was on to the next street.
Tall-Ships was alive with Halloween activity, being a bigger road and one that actually leads somewhere. Some homes had gone all out in the decoration department, with lights, inflatables, tombstones in the garden and smoke machines – oh, and not forgetting the spooky sound-effects being played from a hidden boombox on the balcony. Costumed kids darted around and costumed parents doled out sweets. At one house Darth Vader greeted us coolly with a sweep of his light saber, while his young assistant (I forget now, a ninja turtle?) handed round the candy. Even adults who didn’t dress up (and that was most of us) were enjoying the atmosphere, sitting out on their porches and enjoying the costumes and antics of sugar-fuelled children.
Every so often we would bump into someone we knew, recognisable from their costume worn in the Halloween Parade at school earlier that day. There would be a round of “Hello’s” before getting down to the serious business of comparing their hauls. We could have gone on forever, the kids galloping across lawns and on to the next house, but you have to draw the line somewhere, so we reined in the Zeeebra, who was showing signs of exhaustion and corralled Snow-White and the Giraffe and did the other side of our street on the way back. It wasn’t until the return journey that we discovered Snow-White had been excitedly yelling “Trickle Treat!” at people all evening!
There was time for an inspection of our swag on the living room rug, a taste test or two of some Canadian chocolate bars we hadn’t yet experienced (mmmm Baby Ruths are lovely!) and it was time to scrub those teeth and crawl into bed. I think the doorbell finally stopped ringing sometime around 9pm, by which time I didn’t want to see another sugar-loaded morsel for a long time.