The Case For Halloween

Posted on October 25, 2014 under Storytelling with 2 comments


Witch pumpkin do you like best?



It’s lurking around the corner, like a ghost or goblin. It’s not like it’s going to leap out of the trees and ambush us.  The Halloween promotional machine geared up in September just shortly after the “Back to School” campaign ended.  Funny thing how retailers give us plenty of warning, as if we’re likely to forget.

We all have vivid memories of dressing up, grabbing a few pillow cases and heading out to gather up a year’s supply of sugar, much of which would be consumed within 48 hours. It wasn’t uncommon to experience the first brush of winter on October 31st.  Smashed pumpkins and spent firecrackers could be found littering the streets the morning after.

Of course, these days the joyless curmudgeons of political correctness have taken the pleasure out of most celebrations. We can no longer call something what it is.  Instead of Halloween they would have us call it “Black and Orange Day”.

Adult Halloween parties were all the rage for the longest time, but now I would rather watch Mash reruns than to go to a masquerade. Time has a way of taking the adventure out of us.  However, I can point to one memorable Halloween night with absolute clarity.

Just about 40 years ago, six freshly minted St. F. X. education graduates ended up teaching in the Peace River area of Alberta, five of us in the same school. Think about this for a moment and ponder these words: culture clash.  If five X grads showed up in Dominion or Louisburg, it would hardly be startling news.   We would fit into the fabric of the community within a day or two, once we were able to answer the question; “What’s your father’s name?”

The community of Fairview, Alberta is populated by the most hard working, kind-hearted and pleasant folks on earth. Many of them are of German and Ukrainian heritage.  Let’s just say that in the early 70’s they hadn’t had a lot of exposure to the bagpipes, fiddles or the notion of a ceilidh.  The children who attended the P-12 school weren’t accustomed to their teachers playing their guitars and singing Bob Dylan tunes in the hallway during lunch hour.

You get the picture.

The kids adapted quickly but the adults, especially our fellow teachers, were constantly in head scratching mode, wondering what we would do next.

And so, along came Halloween and with it, the annual staff masquerade party at the school. The “Wise Men from The East”, as we became to be known, went into deep planning mode the week before the party.  I am almost certain that some rum was consumed … just to give us inspiration.  We brainstormed and decided that we would stay true to our roots.  We would go to the masquerade as a six-pack of beer; Schooner, to be precise.

We assembled the materials, including a packing box that once housed a freezer and cans of blue and white paint. (Go X Go!). We cut six holes in the top of the box.  We painstakingly recreated a perfect replica of the Schooner logo.  We purchased six pairs of brown tights, six brown turtle neck sweaters and secured six dusty blue surgical caps from the local hospital.

We hadn’t thought much about the logistics of getting the six-pack to the school. After consuming a few local beers to clear our minds, we took our positions inside the box with our blue capped heads poking out the top and headed off on foot, through town.  The box was too wide for the sidewalk so we ended up walking right down the middle of Main Street.  The locals were confused and somewhat puzzled.

We arrived at the school and gained entry through the gymnasium doors singing “Farewell to Nova Scotia” in glorious harmony.

And so I present my case; Halloween forever!

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Highland Hearing Clinic

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