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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Charmion BS: Do you do Howloween? (20) RE: BS: Do you do Howloween? 26 Oct 19

As little as possible.

I grew up in a country village in a predominately Irish-settled area of the Ottawa Valley (eastern Ontario) where Hallowe'en was Mischief Night. Little kids dressed up and went door to door for treats (mostly apples, peanuts, and home-made cookies and fudge in those days), but at about the age of puberty the primary entertainment option seemed to be vandalism, especially setting fires.

Among my very early memories is the scene in which my Dad stood on our front stoop with a .303-cal Lee-Enfield rifle levelled at the gang of "lads" who had piled broken wood and other burnables -- including our old boat, a St. Lawrence skiff -- in a great heap in the middle of Main Street right in front of our house. My brother and I gazed out of our bedroom window as Dad ordered them away and warned that he would shoot the first one he saw set light to the pile. He was using his Whale Island voice, wot he learned in the war to give orders under fire. Then he worked the bolt of the rifle.

The vandals did indeed take off, and Dad and Mr Donohue next door laboured for the better part of an hour to disassemble the bonfire-to-be. Manotick Main Street was part of Highway 16, the main route out of Ottawa along the Rideau River, and the prime concern was that the way be cleared before the first transport truck came thundering through the village on its way to the rail junction at Smith's Falls.

About five years after that incident, we moved to the city where things were a lot tamer, not least because, you know, cops. But Hallowe'en has always been a tainted kind of observance for me.

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