A bowl of various English sweets ready to be handed out at Halloween.

The Canadian Halloween Experience

Thoughts from Alanna…

I love Halloween.

A lit carved pumpkin ready for Halloween.

As I’m nearing my first Halloween in England, I’m realizing that many people here don’t truly understand what Halloween is like back in Canada.

Picture this:

Store fronts are decorated with carved pumpkins, ghosts or spiderwebs.

You’ve been planning your costume for months and probably scouted your local Value Village (a charity shop) for the best pieces. Costumes start popping up in stores around back-to-school supplies.

Your own scary pumpkin is on the porch. Giant bowls of chips and candy are set up at the door. Eerie lights are on, scary music is playing, cobwebs are stretched along your house, fake blood on the driveway, you name it: your house is properly decorated. And so is most of your neighourbood.

Reruns of Beetlejuice, Hocus Pocus and Halloweentown are on TV.

There is a creepy and fun air about the place and it’s the best holiday there is.

A tiny orange pumpkin sits beside a big black dog laying on the ground.

That year’s pumpkin was a bit small, about the size of my dog’s foot.

Every Halloween I would go trick or treating with my best friend
in some crazy costume with a pillow case to fill with candy. We would visit as many houses as our tiny legs could carry us to and often emptied our bags at home halfway through so we could make room for more candy.

Tip: As a rule of thumb, you only visit houses with their lights on or some kind of decoration outside. That way you know they’re participating.

That day at school (if Halloween fell during the week) you’d always wear your costume to school, same for the┬áteachers, even up until graduating high school when you’re 18 years old. It was so much fun (and so much sugar). As you got older, trick or treating turns to sleepovers, parties, bars and dancing. But it still has that same fun creepiness.

As I write this on Devils Night (I had to explain it to my boyfriend) I don’t feel much Halloween spirit. Maybe because my neighbourhood isn’t decorated at all, minus a pumpkin or two, or maybe because I just miss it the way it is back home?

In any case, I have a ever-shrinking bowl of sweets to hand out if we actually have anyone visit us. Until then, you can find me listening┬áto “Thriller” on repeat and trying to decide on whether to watch Halloween, The Shinning or perhaps Sleepy Hollow?

Happy Halloween!