Sorauren Park Pumpkin Parade 2010
(OK, so I was kidding about candy all year.)
It’s one of those predictable annual phases when my website stats spike. It’s a seasonal thing — Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Halloween, etc., — when the holiday posts I’ve written about in previous years tend to rise up in searches when people are looking for photos. But Halloween brings probably the most visitors, along with Valentine’s Day which seems to have a shorter retail season (or is that just my imagination?).
I’m going to say something rather un-North American: I only like Halloween because it’s the one holiday that puts emphasis on being creative. (Yes, even more than Christmas.) I can do without the rest of it, though. I have no abiding interest in zombies, costume parties, or scary movies. Quality chocolate, sure, but that comes around at Christmas rather than Halloween, which is the Season of Cheap Bulk Candy.
I was in the hipermercado (hypermarket) last Saturday and noted that the Halloween section was relegated to one small island of goods. I thought of taking a photo with my phone but I would’ve had to stand in the middle of the store to capture it. There was no way I could be discreet about it, so you’ll just have to imagine how much of a non-event Halloween is around here. Unlike the commercial glut that represents Halloween in the USA and Canada (and creeping into the rest of the English-speaking world, pun intended), it is barely noticeable here.
And that suits me just fine. I have a low threshold for gore, even the super artificial kind. I photographed the 2008 Toronto Zombie Walk and when friends dressed up for it in 2009, but I couldn’t see myself shooting the zombie walk every year like some of my photo compadres in Toronto. After seeing hundreds and hundreds of the undead up close, there’s only so much fake blood and coloured contact lenses I can take.
On the other hand, I like to see families participate together, when the parents take around their little kids from door to door dressed up in outfits they made themselves. I like to see neighbourhoods make Halloween a family-oriented community event like the way my old neighbourhood in Toronto, Roncesvalles Village, created the Sorauren Park Pumpkin Parade. I enjoyed it so much I shot it three years in a row. I hope the City continues to support the event by picking up the pumpkins the next day to use for fertilizer, as they’ve been doing since it began.
I can also appreciate that Halloween brings out the creativity in people when choosing costumes. I like to see people use recycled materials instead of spending money on outfits that are worn only once. I like to see cute animals and (pop) cultural references that do NOT point to Disney. I like to see what people come up with that doesn’t resort to ethnic joke punchlines, gender stereotypes, or any stereotypes at all. At best, that’s being lazy and not using your imagination. At worst, that’s attention-grabbing at the expense of someone else’s dignity. There’s no excuse for it, especially at Halloween!
If you’re looking for DIY Halloween outfits, here are some links to help you get started. (A caveat: since Pinterest boards are constantly changing, I can’t vouch for their quality.)
From Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/goodwillwm/diy-halloween-costumes/
More Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/nikkihaggard/diy-costumes/
For Kids: http://www.coolmompicks.com/2013/10/most-amazing-diy-kids-halloween-costumes.php
From Buzzfeed (seriously!): http://www.buzzfeed.com/alannaokun/30-halloween-costumes-you-can-make