Thursday, November 01, 2007

Walking on Halloween

Halloween in Cabbagetown

Halloween's the perfect night for a long walk. I suggested to the psychogeographers that we start at Rosedale station, because I was curious to see what trick-or-treating looks like in the richest part of town. The trend in Rosedale seemed to be towards very large inflatable scary things on lawns, most notably a tarantula that must have been eight feet across. There weren't a lot of homemade decorations or elaborate displays, which seemed like a wasted opportunity, given that many of the houses had massive porticoes and looked like mausoleums to start out with. Several places did have impressive arrays of multiple jack-o-lanterns. We liked this one:

Cautionary pumpkin

which seemed to stand as a warning to kids tempted to eat all their candy in one go. (I know, everyone was doing these this year. It was still funny.) No stand-out costumes, but lots of kids in sleek versions of the classics: princesses, pirates, zombies, teddy bears, vampires. One gaggle of girls were all dressed as '80s celebrities. The '80s seem very popular as a theme among people who were born after they ended.

By 7:30 there were big throngs of kids gathering at the intersections of Rosedale's twisty streets. Lots of locals -- groups of girls in Flashdance workout gear or elaborate '50s-housewife costumes, some with arms linked, some keeping up uninterrupted cellphone conversations about ongoing dramas at school -- but it also looked like a lot of older kids had made their way across Bloor from the St. Jamestown public housing development. Smart thinking!

We crossed the Sherbourne bridge and went into Cabbagetown, which Shawn had told us tends to be a hotbed of Halloween activity. By this time it was about 9 (we'd stopped for a bite to eat on Bloor), and most of the kids had gone home, but there were still a lot of yard displays to be seen. The pic at the top of this post is from Cabbagetown. Cabbagetowners get very creative with their Halloween decorating. We liked the straw man being eaten by a giant spider (lit with red spotlights, but too dark to photograph properly), the life-sized coffin (it had been full of candy at the start of the evening, the owner told us), and this ghoulish couple sitting down to their dinner of eyeball stew:

Peculiar couple

Next, it was on to Church Street, always the city's biggest Halloween party. Sure enough, the whole street was packed. There were some fantastic costumes: the S&M M&M was pretty clever, and the box of takeout Chinese food. We ran into a group of people we all knew slightly who were all dressed as Tetris pieces. And of course, it being Church St., there were lots and lots of fabulous drag queens, androgynous vampires, and Velvet Goldmine glam-rockers, and every Batman had a Robin (awww!). And excitable boys everywhere, running into their friends. (Typical overheard remark: "EEEE!! OMIGOD I AM SO STONED RIGHT NOW AND I HATE YOUR EYESHADOW!!")

I don't have a lot of photos for you, as I'm shy of asking strangers if I can take their photo, but when we made our way out to Yonge St. we saw these penguin dudes and I just had to stop them and snap this shot:

The penguin dudes

Afterwards, Dylan overheard one of them saying to the others, "Guys, this turned out way better than I expected!"

Maybe next year I'll actually get around to putting together a costume of my own...

More pictures here!