Aside from the Christmas season, my favourite time of the year is Halloween.
The first time I experienced Halloween was when I was around nine years old. Having grown up in a northern trap line, I had never heard of Halloween.
When my family moved back to my home reserve, I heard all about it, although I didn’t get the concept at first. All I knew was I had to get dressed up and go from house to house to trick or treat.
I didn’t have a costume, but one of my favourite television shows at the time was The Gong Show. This was a program in which people with different talents would show them to the viewing audience. There was a person who made regular appearances on the show. He was the Unknown Comic. Basically he had a brown paper bag over his head and would tell jokes.
Since I had no costume, but plenty of brown paper bags, I decided to go as the Unknown Comic. Of course some houses wouldn’t give me any treats unless I told a couple of jokes. This was the first time I ever had to tell a joke in front of strangers. But since I had a paper bag over my head, I thought they wouldn’t know who I was.
As I got older, my costumes changed from year to year, but truth be told my favourite is still the Unknown Comic.
One of my favourite Halloween stories comes from my 12-year-old nephew. He was staying with me in the Riversdale area and attending Princess Alexandra community school.
He was excited on Halloween morning. This was going to be his first time to go trick or treating in a city. His expectations were high. He told me that right after school he and his buddies were coming to my place to change and to get ready to go out. I took this as an opportunity to come up with a plan to scare them.
My plan was basically to dress up as a scarecrow and sit in the porch and wait for them. Sure enough, I heard them running up the steps. All of the sudden they stopped and stared at me. I sat completely still with my head down.
“Come on,” I heard my nephew say, “it’s not real.”
As soon as they stepped into the porch, I jumped up. You should have seen them pushing each other out of the way to get out of the porch. When they realized it was me, they rolled around the front yard with laughter.
That was probably the only “trick” I’ve ever played on Halloween. Actually that’s not totally true. On my home reserve, at least back then, very few people had running water. This, of course, meant no plumbing. People had outside toilets.
I had heard one of the things to do during Halloween was to go around pushing down toilets. I didn’t actually take part in pushing down anybody’s outhouse, but I was an eyewitness to this. The next day I felt so bad I went back to the house to help with cleaning and putting the outhouse back on its proper foundation. Then, the homeowner told me the old outhouse hadn’t been used in years.
It’s been several years since I went out to celebrate the day. Mostly my fun now comes with the children who come to my door. I try not to scare them. I just enjoy the moment when they come to my house and trick or treat.