Last night was my very first (and quite sadly, possibly last) proper, North American Halloween!
Halloween, in case your diet of Hollywood films and pop culture has been severely undernourished, was traditionally a festival when people believed that the dead could move among the living, so a variety of superstitions developed to keep the dead away. I am not superstitious, in fact I don't think I met anyone last night who was either. But the Canadians are pretty good at embracing any opportunity to get dressed up and party, so Halloween is still one of the most popular festivals celebrated here.
We began our evening by going trick or treating... at the Canadian Prime Minister's house! Although PM Stephen Harper didn't greet us at the door, we still got a big, fat bag of candy. The driveway was decorated with some really brilliant jack-o'-lanterns and the front of the house was covered in scary hanging ghosts and skeletons. I was pretty impressed that the PM himself decided to get involved.
Further along, we visited Rideau Hall, a well-known site in Ottawa, for the “Halloween Fun Fair”. Despite being the only people there above the age of ten, we brushed through a maze of skeletons hanging in the trees, through the witches house and to conversed with the headless man to obtain another bag of candy!
After some more trick or treating, a group of us went to a Halloween party. Now, this is where the costumes become important. You know the part in Mean Girls, where poor little Lindsay gets teased for dressing as a scary corpse bride instead of a bunny? Some friends and I decided to test this theory, so we decided to go for the scary zombie look. There were one or two male vampires, but truthfully, absolutely noone else dressed up as scary things! Bunnies and/or french maid costumes really were the costumes to be seen in!!
Having learnt my lesson (that Mean Girls actually is a metaphor for real life), I can still say that I loved my Canadian Halloween experience. In particular, I loved the carved pumpkins out the front of people's homes to show that they welcomes trick-or-treaters. Wikipedia informs me that the 'head' of the jack-o'-lantern is supposed to frighten off evil spirits. My favourite jack-o'-lantern was this one:
There was also one of Harry Potter but my photographic skills just don't do it justice, so Mario takes the prize!