Article first published as Toronto – Halloween Night on Technorati.
Halloween celebrations in Europe are quite recent. It has only been a few years since one has to be prepared to open the door to scary looking characters and give them sweets. However, in my experience, Halloween has never really taken off and there have been years when I found myself faced with a big bowl of candy, as nobody had come around. I was therefore curious to see what October 31st would be like on a recent trip to Toronto. I was not disappointed!
As I was visiting family, I was taken exactly to the right place where most of it was happening. I had had a glimpse of the decorations the day before in the afternoon and had already taken numerous photos. I could not believe how much effort residents put into decorating their houses! Legs and arms dangling from tree branches, held by thick ropes. Graveyards with Death looming over the tombs. Giant cobwebs, the spider ready to pounce on its prey. “Caution – Do not cross” yellow tape blocking the access to the front door. Friendly and not so friendly ghosts sharing the spotlight with beautifully carved pumpkins. I even spotted an armour keeping company to a black cat.
However, these sights were nothing compared to how they came alive at night. The streets were bustling with people and you could see the excitement on the kids’ faces. My cousin’s son was sporting a cool horse costume and was very proud that most inhabitants complimented him on it. I smiled at how the house owners sat on their porch or in their front garden with hot drinks, clearly enjoying the visits. I loved the way all the decorations were lit, suddenly the “Beware!” carved pumpkin or the miniature vampire hanging from a tree becoming a lot more menacing. For a European like me, it was as if I had stepped straight into an American movie!
We reached the end of the biggest street and came across some elaborate mise-en-scènes. A woman in her coffin suddenly coming back to life. A zombie couple claiming ownership of a cemetery. A couple of skeleton chained to a wall, chatting. A tunnel where only the bravest dared to go. My cousin explained to me that these people were doing this for charity. I was really impressed.
As we left with a bag full of goodies, I vowed to come back again, this time with my husband and daughters. I know they will enjoy Halloween as much as I did.