Halloween 2001

FTLComm - Tisdale - Wednesday, October 31, 2001
I can think back to hearing the first explanation of what Halloween was about, I must have been in grade three at the time and my teacher was an absolute wonder, I would have believed anything she said. She was one of those rare people who could write on the black board with a piece of chalk in each hand. Always dressed in a big skirted dress over her slim tall frame and she even had decorative glasses which allowed her to change the frames each day. But alas her explanation of Halloween was as hallow as every other description of this totally irrational cultural phenomena. At seven it sounded to me like a really stupid pretend story and it still does.

I suppose that trying to find meaning and rational understanding in things is sometimes a totally hopeless task. As a principal in rural towns throughout Saskatchewan, Halloween was a night of real horror, vandalism and just plain stupidity. Only Watson Lake Yukon, Herbert and here in Tisdale was it a delight.

At thirteen my little sister was going out on her second Halloween jaunt, the year before I had taken her around from door to door, with about three others her age. This year many other parents decided they would drop their kids off with me and I would usher them from door to door around the tiny village of Langbank. The whole trip would take almost an hour and we would go to every house in town. That night there must have been fifteen children ages five to seven, mostly ghosts with pillow case bags and we set off with me leading them and a trusty flashlight. The tour was going pretty well we had done about half the town when we came to a Saskatchewan Power construction trailer parked just West of the Co-op store in a vacant lot.

The two trailers had steps up the back them and bunks along the walls for the construction crewmen. I stood back as my fifteen little ghosts clamoured up the steps to that doorway. All of the children were either on the top step or on the stairs. They tapped at the door and in their best little voices called out "trick or treat". There was the sound of a running motion within the trailer, the door burst open and a huge man with a really awful mask was hurling toward the children. They bolted. Little ghosts tumbled from the stairs fanning out in the tall grass in total darkness screaming in terror.

There was someone with me that night who had been bringing up the rear looking after stragglers, together we worked our way through the grass finding each little frightened child, their bags of candy strewn all over, muddy and crying. We must have been fifteen minutes getting them back together and the rest of the night was canceled It was a scene from Buffy the vampire slayer only not a fictional fantasy but fifteen terrified and crying kids. I walked them to our house where my mom helped to clean up the group, there were a few who wanted to finish off the night, but most had more Halloween then they had ever needed.

Tonight like all Halloweens in Tisdale takes place before darkness really sets in and our little goblins will visit us politely ring the bell and I will drop a bag in each bag. Usually we only see about fifteen guests and around eight a few odd looking adults might show up. Tonight my door bell will not be answered after 8:30 as I have some guests in for a workshop on Photoshop.

The pictures on this page were taken Sunday night of a house in town with a complete graveyard on its lawn complete with names and inscriptions of fictional characters who were a terror in some television or motion picture horror show.