Aside from Christmas, I don’t think there is any time of year more exciting for a child than Halloween. Costumes and free candy? What child wouldn’t love that?
I remember the excitement of the day when I was younger. A big part of it was the anticipation, built up over the previous couple weeks.
It all began with choosing a costume. I always preferred to go as something “pretty” rather than something “scary”, or at least as something where I didn’t have to smear costume makeup all over my face or wear a mask. I’ve gone trick-or-treating as a bride, Cleopatra, a nun, a cave person, and a witch. My last year, when I was 12, I decided to use all the sparkly makeup sitting in my cupboard and go as a “glitterbug.” I even went shopping in search of the most sparkly clothes I could find.
My favourite costumes were always the ones I made myself. For the cave person costume, I got fabric and inexpertly sewed a simple dress. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t a really nice dress, because it went with the theme of the costume. I raided my mom’s makeup bag and brushed bronzer on my face to make it look dirty, borrowed a carved stone bracelet a friend brought her from Africa, and messed up my hair.
With my costume decided, all I had to do was wait for the day to arrive. I was so excited when it finally did. I packed my costume in my backpack for the school’s costume parade and Halloween party. Before the parade, I crowded around the school’s bathroom mirrors with the other girls in my class to do my makeup.
My excitement intensified when school finished. I did some homework before getting ready and meeting up with friends from the neighbourhood. We went door-to-door with our sturdiest pillowcases.
One house had a very realistic looking person stuck head-first in a side-lying garbage can. As we walked tentatively past, it called to us, “Hey, you there, give me a hand and get me out of here.”
We screamed and ran back to the sidewalk. One of my friends worked up the courage to walk past the person again, who repeated what he had said the first time. Satisfied that it wasn’t real, the rest of us walked to the house, where we received our candy.
The next day at school, everyone boasted of how much candy they had accumulated and how long they had gone trick-or-treating. I only ever stayed out for a couple hours, so I never had the biggest hoard. I was still excited about the candy in my lunch.
In university, I got to re-live my trick-or-treating glory days through a program called “Trick or Eat”. It’s offered at many campuses across Canada, and was especially popular at my own. We got to dress up, just like we used to, and go door-to-door. This time, we weren’t looking for candy. We were looking for food bank donations. Someone accompanied us in a car, so we didn’t have to carry all those cans around by ourselves.
I liked going door-to-door. The people who answered it always looked surprised, likely because we were way too old to be trick-or-treating, and because we turned down their candy and asked for canned food instead.
The city was divided into sections, with a different group assigned to each part. After covering our area, we returned back to headquarters on campus. I was freezing by this point, but that didn’t matter as I looked at the car trunk stuffed to bursting with food.
The candy, given to our group by a few people who insisted we take it, was also a nice bonus.