30 October 2010


It was a candid admission. "What it really is about", said my local colleague, "is girls getting dressed up in short skirts and tight tops." He grinned. "The guys just go along with ever the same boring sheriff-or-indian look but they have a mighty good time".

I certainly never looked at it, and them, in this way. Last year, I even feigned total ignorance about the custom. And this year, I simply hoped that if I'd have none of it, Halloween would just go away. So should I reconsider? Between the girls and the sugary treats, maybe this could be an event for yours truly?

Or maybe not. Last night in the metro, the kind of institutionalized cheerfulness that I resent became evident, as people felt that simply because they wore a mask, they could now behave in rude and overbearing ways otherwise considered inacceptable. This being said, there were some inspired creations to be seen, from 20ties Charleston dresses to sailors in Canadian arctic naval gear. But what bemused me were the half-creations: That girl with the oversized glasses, duffle coat, neon leggins and woolen socks over them - was she in costume or just an example of Montréal's daring sense of style? And how about that guy with the Tom Ford-ish tailored suit and too much pomade in his hair? Ah, fashion is always walking a tightrope!

So bless the kids - at least they're playing a transparent and straight-forward game. Clowns or cowboys, they'll come ringing my doorbell tonight threatening to play a trick on me, unless I volunteer some of my closely guarded Swiss chocolate supplies. Socially accepted blackmail by minors - fair enough. But some little keeners clearly were going for an early start, or so I thought when the doorbell rang at an ungoodly hour this morning. I grabbed a fistful of candy and trodded downstairs, only to find an upbeat woman without costume, but an equally deceptive radiant smile. She did not want my treats, seemingly preferring the "trick" option: She wanted me to read the English-language version of the Jehovah's witnesses magazine watchtower. Given the time of day, at least the pamphlet's title was fitting: Awake!

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