Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween, Ottawa style.

Well, here we are on day two of this blog and I must say it's starting to look downright cozy. Today is, of course, Halloween and we, here, in the rudest city in Canada, (Seriously. Check it out: )like to celebrate in our own special way. I have many happy memories of tramping in home-made costumes through the streets of small town Eastern Ontario, shivering as the first snows of the year trickled down the back of our necks, or slopping across people's lawns as the rain turned your home-made cardboard costume accoutrements to the consistency of wet cloth. Oh, the joyful memories of standing in the glow of a neighbour's porchlight, staring down at the candy received in outstretched hand, not so much to see what you got as to make sure it was actually there, as your fingers were so numb from the cold their ability to render the sensation of touch was severely compromised. Ottawa-Carleton. Gotta love it.

Still, those days are gone now, and what with the onset of global warming and with the next generation of my family firmly entrenched, a new trick-or-treating past-time has emerged. I, of course, speak of our yearly jaunt to the PM's house and surrounding district. For many years, now, I have taken my youngest to the PM and Governor General's House in his All Hallow's quest for loot. It's always a scary thrill when you make your way up the front drive of 24 Sussex to see the PM, his family, and his staff, decked out in their finest monster gear (or maybe it's their loungewear, hard to tell with the Tories,). And, I might add, it's quite a relief to know that the ominous rustling in the bushes is, in fact, just the RCMP in their zest to be security conscious, ready to spring into action at the first sign of munchkin mischief with tazer's held at the ready. Still, I shouldn't worry too much. Given the number of flash bulbs going off as parents try to snap pics of the kids with the "powers de jour" I suspect the aim of those poor souls assigned to the shadows, (along with their night vision and their overall general ability to see) will be more than compromised for weeks to come.

Then, well, it's off to the embassy district to raid the homes of those who represent those nations less fortunate (but often more laid back, I find) than ours, only to cap it off with a trip to the Governor General's residence, a trip, I must warn you, that is not for the faint of heart. At one time it was left up to the parents and children to navigate the shrouded grounds alone on the way to the massive manse, slipping between the darkened trees with the frightening cries of "Expeliarmus!" being directed at you from the shadows from a host of would-be Hogwarts applicants; though this practice has been curbed of late in favour of a Halloween "tour de chill" at the front gate. But even that can be frightening with spooks and spectres of all kinds, where the normally friendly (hah!) scarlet-coated, bear-capped footguards are replaced with menacing cloaked figures bearing scythes in honour of this dreaded night (or maybe it's a matter of logistics and their kit just got sent to the 'Stan). Regardless, either possibility is unsettling and I'm always slightly relieved (and very tired) when we make it back to the car after a long night's haul, there to do my best to convince my sleepy boy that he does not need to go out trick-or treating again when we get home (seriously, go to bed, child,) and that he needs to wait until daddy has gone through his candy before devouring it. I mean, before devour...ah well, y'know what I mean. I gotta make sure it's safe after all. Parental responsibilities and all that... Urp. 'Scuse me. Happy Halloween, folks.


J&D said...

Welcome to the blogging world, daddy-o! It's lots of fun. And so much easier than long distance phone calls : )

B.A. said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence bro. It's easier on the voice, too (wicked head cold right now). Feel free to share this around. I'm actually trying to see how far I can broaden the readership on this. Oh, yeah, send me your blog url and I'll post it in my links.



Jacqueline said...


I remember, before your had your own children, you accompanying my little Abby on her Sussex Drive Halloween adventures. I do believe you were dressed as the "happy civil servant" although I plainly recall Shauna wanting you to wear bunny ears and a tail. Sigh. Cue the violins, maestro . . . Abby was a puppy dog that year and I can name every costume worn for every year. It is amazing to know that this year Abby went out with friends to trick or treat without her mother. She is now eleven and a full two inches taller than my impressive 5'5" stature. Time flies and all that jazz.

Enjoy your children--ask them to save a couple of chocolate bars (or Nibs--yummmm)--we are all deserving of the 5% Halloween cut.

B.A. said...


OMG! Positively great to hear from you. It's been forever. I must say that you and Abby helped start a tradition that I have kept dear to my heart for many years. As for the chocolate issue, well, if you check out the next update you'll see why I let that one slide. I came home with literally 100 francs worth of Christmas Chcoloate form Switzerland (all for other people of course). Hope both you and Abby are doing well. Say hi to her for me.

All The Best,