Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Halloween was not celebrated where I grew up in Australia and I don't have any childhood memories of the day. No doubt that has changed even there, for usually Big Business will try to make a buck any way they can and Halloween has become a very big business indeed.

In Canada, Halloween was a totally different experience with children dressing up and visiting the neighbours and doing the "Trick or Treat" song and dance with the expectation of candy being dropped into their swag bags. Mine were no different and wanted to join in this parade so I had to make costumes for them. One of us stayed home handing out treats, while the other trailed around with a group of children and other parents to see they all travelled the dark streets safely. Of course it usually rained, being Vancouver.

This was in the good old days, before the worry of weirdos inserting needles into treats or contaminating the handouts with poison, so sometimes they came home with candied apples or home made cookies. One of our neighbours, a dentist, gave out toothbrushes which were a big hit because they were so different. In later years fireworks came into the mix and several families got together to buy them so that the display was bigger and better and lasted longer. One of our dogs, Kanga, was petrified by the whole Halloween thing and hid, shivering and shaking under a bed until it was all over. Cleo, our next dog, thought all the children coming to the door was a splendid excitement, greeting every one and wanting to go with them on their travels. She even barked loudly at the fireworks, adding greatly to the noise.

Nowadays we don't have very many children come to the door, but you never know, so we buy lots of candy, all thoroughly wrapped in some factory now, and usually end up eating most of it ourselves so I don't buy the cheap stuff. If you are going to eat chocolate, eat good chocolate is my motto.

Another thing that has changed is decorating houses for Halloween. Mostly we just carved pumpkins and put candles inside them and put them either in the window or by the front door. But now the displays are getting a little more extensive. I first noticed it in the East, when I had been at my daughter's house at that time of year. Many people there go in for decorating at Halloween in a big way. Slowly this is starting to happen in Vancouver in a smaller way, meaning a house here and a house there.

But one house, a couple of blocks over from us has really gone all out. So I thought I would walk over and take a few photos since it was a beautiful Fall day. This is their second year that I know of and every foot of their property is decorated. I'm told the two fellows who live in the house are in the business, whatever that means. The Special Effects business? The Costume business? The Skeleton business? The Ghoul business? Mr Google hasn't heard about them yet so no help there.

Anyway the photos throughout this post are from this house. You enter from the streetfront and pass through a garage in total darkness except for figures lit eerily and smoking cauldrons.

Then you pass through Klown Alley along the side of the house to the back garden to see the rather horrific autopsy and the Cemetery on the back lawn.

Moving past the sundeck coffin display and along the other side of the house to the front of the house where you are greeted by a real live ghoul. A class from the nearby school was visiting the house and the children had to have their photo taken with him. The house is open from 10 am until midnight and it must be really scary at night. A donation box is by the exit with the money going to several local charities. All in all, a very scary place but the two fellows seemed to be having such a lot of fun as, dressed in costume, they went back and forth greeting the children. How they are going to top this next year I cannot imagine.

Hootin' Anni, the den mother of the 50 plus bloggers loves Halloween and she has been handing out Halloween virtual treats to her site visitors. She gave me one after I stopped by her Photo Hunt and I was also given one by Dragonstar and JC. If you click on the treat you will be taken to Anni's site, which is severely decorated for Halloween.



eastcoastlife said...

Wow! That is an awesome place to visit! I would love to decorate my house in such a way but I doubt hubby would agree to it. Thanks for the treat jmb!

btw, I requested to be added to your Facebook. I saw yours on Dr George's profile.

Colin Campbell said...

Wow! Very scary.

We now have more than enough ideas for our scary party for Ryan.

Growing up in Scotland, there was a bit of dressing up as kids, but nothing compared to the stuff that happened in America.

Australia does not make a big deal out of it, but there are halloween and scary stuff around. No trick or treat tradition reality.

jams o donnell said...

Trick or treat is a pretty recent thing here in the UK. I've only really noticed it take off over since the early 90s

Perhaps it was just too close to Guy Fawkes night. We used to see lots of kids doing "penny for the guy" but now you don't see that anymore.

Carver said...

Great Halloween post. I loved looking at all the decorations. Fun shots. Your memories of homemade treats reminds me of my childhood. I even remember the first time a sicko changed everything where I live. I was in high school when the stories hit the press.

I always get a lot of trick or treaters in my neighborhood but I still manage to eat a lot of the treats. I love your idea of getting good candy since you end up eating so much of it. Happy Halloween, Carver

Liz said...

They have really gone to town on that one!

I don't do Halloween but I like your chocolate-buying principle.

Ellee said...

Wow, that is impressive, our kids dress up in the UK, but nothing like this.

Janice Thomson said...

Fantastic photos Jmb! My how things have changed - Halloween really is BIG business nowadays.
PS: I'm sending all the kids out your way for chocolate - not for them - for me! LOL

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Great pics, jmb. I would be terrified if I lived anywhere near that house! I used to hate Hallowe'en in Britain because the kids wanted money, not treats and they would knock your door at all hours. If you refuse to give them anything, they chuck flour and eggs all over your property. So I used to put the lights out, seal up the letterbox and hide. I'm afraid I'm a grump about it. Here people don't bother with Hallowe'en much though there are a few parties and some people decorate a little. We have I Morti on Friday instead. Auguri

Love Bears All Things said...

The photos scared me and grossed me out at the same time. I can't imagine visiting in person. A child could be traumatized for life there.
Mama Bear

Count James d'Estaing said...

Happy All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day tomorrow, JMB.

rlbates said...

Can't top those comments JMB. Happy Halloween to you.

The Laundress said...

Oh boy JMB -- lovely post, gorgeous photos (I like the last one best of all). Dang, you are going to make me eat my anti-Halloween decorating post!

Happy Halloween!

lady macleod said...

Merry Samhain to you! I don't know, but I would find out what business those chaps are in...

I totally agree about the quality of chocolate!

great holiday post.

jmb said...

I don't think my husband would go for it either but it certainly was a special place. I'll check you at Facebook.

Hi Colin,
Thanks for the info and the link on your blog. Obviously Halloween is getting even bigger here now. Big Business!

Hi Jams,
Interesting how it is become bigger even in countries where it never existed. As I said. Money rules.

Hi Carver,
It was a shame that we all became so untrusting after a few incidents. We didn't have many kids at all tonight.

Hi Liz,
No Halloween in Wales, just you wait.

Hi Ellee,
Dressing up is fun. This house seems a bit scary for little ones but the bigger ones love it.

Hi Janice,
Thanks Janice. Yes very big business but this is a rare example of such excess.

Hi Welshcakes,
I was a grump at first about it, seeing it as just a rather greedy thing, which it still is frankly. Although for a while it was mainly just private neighbour parties.

Hi Love Bears
It really is really gross but the kids I saw there loved it. I can't imagine taking really little ones.

Hi James,
Happy Hallowe'en to you and All Saint's day too.

Hi Ramona,
Hope you had a great Halloween too and the dog is not too traumatized.

Hi LA,
You would have a hard time trumping this decoration. I wonder where they keep it the rest of the year. In a warehouse? Happy Halloween to you too.

Hi Lady Mac,
In B & N again? Merry Samhain to you too. I had to google it you know.

Thanks to everyone for visiting and commenting on the Haunted House

Eurodog said...

jmb, great photograpjhs but I must admit I am not a great fan of Halloween. It makes me feel unconfortable.

jmb said...

Hi Eurodog,
I wasn't a big fan of Halloween when I first came here but later on I guess I just got used to it. Especially when my children became involved.