My Halloween Howlers

Candy?  Check.  Pumpkin?  Check.  I’m all ready for Halloween.  As a new immigrant to Canada 30-odd years ago, determined to “become Canadian,” I embraced this new and exotic celebration but didn’t always get it quite right.
Soon after arriving I was invited to attend a Halloween party.  What fun!  I looked in my closet to see what I could use as the basis for a costume and my eyes immediately fell on my traditional English duffel coat.  Perfect.  I would be Paddington Bear.  But what I’d overlooked was that this classic British children’s story was almost unknown this side of the pond.  I spent most of the evening explaining who I was to everyone I met.

You really would’ve thought I’d learn from this experience.  But no, a few years later I did it again, this time dressing up as Noddy.  “Are you an elf?” the children who came to the door asked.  I was crushed.  What kind of deprived upbringing had these poor Canadian children had?

When we moved to Azerbaijan, I was determined to share this important part of North American culture with the local students who visited me once a week to practice their conversational English.  All went well as I described the dressing up, candy and pumpkins.  My mistake was to try and explain some of the ancient beliefs behind the celebration.  As I started to talk about spirits rising and walking the earth I could see them eyeing each other nervously and shifting in their seats.  What kind of voodoo was this crazy Kanadka promoting?

Despite my best efforts it seems I really haven’t MASTERED Halloween.  How well have you adapted to celebrations in your new country?

2 thoughts on “My Halloween Howlers

  1. Classic, Judy! And check you out in the Noddy costume! (I remember being very confused by the Paddington Bear and Noddy situation as a child in Canada; I knew and loved them thanks to my English/Irish immigrant parents, and I assumed everyone else did too. I soon learned otherwise.) For my own children, Hallowe’en in France was a big letdown. After convincing one of their friends to dress up and help them “shell out,” they had only two trick-or-traters all night. I ate a lot of candy over the next few days (to make them feel better, of course!)

    • Stocking up so you have plenty of leftover candy is an important Halloween tradition😉 Not too many trick-or-treaters in our neighbourhood either these days…. think all the kids are growing up and young families can’t afford to buy in.😦

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