By Gail Prior



Darkness was fast approaching as she pulled the blinds down and closed the drapes. The only light was in their bedroom, where they were dressing to go out. He was wearing a suit and tie, while she was dressed in a long skirt and elegant, sequined blouse. Reservations had been made at a secluded restaurant several miles away. They looked forward to the drive and dinner, but mainly to their planned escape from the charade of Halloween night.

Halloween as described by the Oxford dictionary: the eve of All Saint’s Day. What is saintly about letting children go door to door begging for candy? And, conversely, teaching them to not speak to strangers the other 364 days of the year? What about parents actually driving youngsters away from their own areas to perceived more affluent neighbourhoods for better “loot?” What subliminal message does this give?

Will Halloween spawn chemical engineers or chemists, so they may understand the listed ingredients in candy bars and licorice? Sodium bicarbonate, citric acid, calcium chloride, soy lecithin to name a few, plus all candies come complete with artificial colours. This stuff is to be begged for at strange doors?

The parents allow consumption of the chemical candies, although some will first cut them open, looking for straight pins or concealed razor blades. Even homemade popcorn balls and candied apples are subject to scrutiny. These may be more wholesome treats, but did the cooks wash their hands during preparation? Lick their fingers? Is that powdery white stuff sugar or ground up aspirins? Could there be cannabis in the Gummi bears?

Then there are the bizarre, or supposedly cute, costumes made of flammable material, all sold at the same stores alongside the chemical candies. And frightened animals, and firecrackers that can burn. She and her husband wanted no part of this bizarre evening. They were going out. He started the car, while she turned off all the outdoor lights. Yes, the best thing about Halloween is

NOT being home.

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12 Responses to By Gail Prior

  1. Publisher says:

    I think one point is being missed – we all do not agree with everything and to try to is fruitless –

    I like phrases like – something to think about

    or all kinds of people and not all marching to one drummer..

  2. Susan Fulton says:

    May I take this time to say that I truly enjoy Pat Whalley’s columns?

  3. Judy Schweitzer says:

    I agree Tanya. Halloween is a time for children to laugh with each other, and go out and yes “get free candy”. But it is also a time for those of us older folk to enjoy the time they spend on putting together a costume, whether their mother or grama made it for them they still came up with the idea. I can only guess that Christmas must be fun at your house too. As for the older children, if they put effort into putting on a costume what is the harm in letting them help you get rid of the extra candy that you bought and really don’t need to eat! As for flower beds – mine are all put away for the winter and little feet are not going to ruin them at this time of year. Most children don’t run through them anyway, so you punish the lot because of a few. Let’s put fun back into Halloween and enjoy the youngsters as they run door to door. TRICK or TREAT everyone!

    • Mary Ellan says:

      Sounds like a lot of bitching about nothing! I always found the children to be polite when coming to my door. Maybe Neil should put out a sign that says only people he knows are allowed to come to his door? As for older children out having fun and trying to get free candy, why not? Children who live in rural areas need to come into town to enjoy going door to door for treats. I thought the Grinch was for Chrstmas?

    • neil seidler says:

      Does Mary Ellan work for CNN?

    • neil seidler says:

      Most of the time there was no costume with the older kids, (15-16 year old ), no made up faces, just wanting to capitalize on free candy. Halloween is for the younger kids and we enjoyed them at our door. I don’t believe in being politically correct so too bad.

  4. Henry Wiebe says:

    Gail, well said!

  5. neil seidler says:

    How times have changed, when we went out on Halloween all the houses we went to knew who we were. Candied apples, popcorn balls, many home made candies, fudge or cookies, store bought bars, Candy kisses, oranges, Double Bubble gum with a nickel in it. They knew us and we knew them, safe for all. We never had carloads of people from other areas or other towns speeding through the neighborhood in search of the best areas our town had. We didn’t have to beg for candy, it was willingly given, sometimes for a song or similar task for our goodies, which we gladly did. But the last few years we turn our lights out and just have the TV on, this only due to the older high school kids coming around after 8:00 pm. or earlier. We bought crappier candy for them and only gave one each. We would tell the neighborhood kids and family to come early or use the back door. They would get full size candy bars, or a handful of the smaller bars. We enjoyed the younger kids coming to the door in their costumes with the parents standing back a ways, but in the porch light we knew who the kids were. On those occasions when the kids thanked us, we would give them a little more. I don’t think we ever ran out of candies because we always bought lots, for we got to eat the leftovers. But nowadays quality candy costs, to many from other areas trying to cash in on our neighborhoods generosity, kids unsupervised running through the garden beds between houses, no “thank you” from most, banging on the door or knocking without “Trick or Treat” sung in chorus. It’s almost like they think we have to give them candy, that it’s some how owed to them and they are doing us the favour of coming to our door. No, I think it’s kids greed, a lack of respect for home owners and a lack of manors and respect taught at home. That is what has ruined Halloween for most, and that’s kids of all ages. Yes we all have to worry about those with mental issues, or other problems, and not just at Halloween, our world has changed and not for the better.

    • Adrienne Cleave says:

      I also agree with Tanya. My kids loved Halloween and now my grandkids do.
      We lived out in the country so I drove them around to neighbors and just a few friends. Their favourite treats were the popcorn balls made by Mrs. Kilback and Mrs. Dunis. And Mrs. Venables always gave full size candy bars… whooo!
      I’ve always loved seeing the kids come around and still do. I was hoping to see more when we moved into town but our street isn’t very well lit so still not so many. I will be stocked though… just in case! And now I make a special Halloween Bark for the Grands

  6. Tanya Martin says:

    Well aren’t you a ray of sunshine?

    Publisher: Not sure of the intent of comment in response

    Halloween is next Wednesday

    Scare View, in MHO, should be on that same night to give kids and parents a safe alternative / night to trick or treat

    Oliver Parks I accept your ads. I do not always agree on content.

    Let us not monetize everything!
    This is Oliver as a community – not a biz and heavily subsized from tax payers.

    Lets reshape Hallow’s Eve but not the Sat before – but on the correct DATE

    Next Oliver Parks will change the day of Christmas and charge a ticket fee. Is it TIME for me to move on Carol ???

    • rose-anne atkinson says:

      Wow, read your post this morning and it stuck with me all day.
      When I was a kid we always went to in our neighbourhood. Mrs Houghstons house first , she made popcorn balls and were our first treat when we got home. We took pillow cases because we couldn’t afford the cool pumpkin baskets. My older brother would race around town and Mrs. Forbes would call my mom to let her know he was half way around town.
      When I moved back to this little town we would go out of our way to decorate, cars would pull in and stop at our house and leave , because they would see our house as the school bus passed.
      After I became a single mom, we would still go out of our way to decorate, play music and light up the house, some of the families I lived near either couldn’t afford to provide candies, or had to take their own children out. I always delighted in the kids and their costumes, and even when the older kids showed up a bit latter, I never minded, they were always polite, even if they didn’t have a real costume on .
      Even when I was a child of the late sixties early seventies we hear of pins , razor blades , but never experienced it.
      So leave your lightoff, out go for dinner, I hope your neighbour are kinder, and more caring, and set a better example for love, compassion and community than you do.

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