Halloween in Canada

© Ed Dear | Dreamstime Stock Photos

When I was a kid, Halloween was my favourite holiday. As soon as school started after Labour Day, I was planning what my costume would be. I fantasized about creative and complex costumes, like an ice cream cone or a kangaroo, but often wound up being a gypsy (or something that could be easily put together from the family’s closets).

When I was 30, I promised I would take my niece and nephew trick-or-treating. They were so excited. I hadn’t seen them in a long time. Halloween meant a lot to them, too, and to have Auntie Annie accompany them on the night was something we all looked forward to. As they got ready, it became clear they had pictured it all differently. My plan was to chaperone them and stand on the sidewalk as they made their way door-to-door. But no, they insisted my promise was to go trick-or-treating with them – costume and all! Their pleas were difficult to disappoint; we scrambled through closets to find silly, young girl clothes, put my hair in pigtails, painted on freckles, donned a funny nose, and off we went.

At the first door, I was reluctant and held back. My niece was bold. “Can I have candy for my friend?” she gestured back toward me, explaining. “She’s shy.” The woman willingly gave her extra treats. Well, that was easy!

The tactic worked, and as the night progressed, it became nothing for me to join these two cheeky children knocking on doors, shouting “Trick-or-Treat!”. I collected my own bag full of loot.

Trick-or-treating at age thirty. So much fun!

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Culture Days in Kelowna

Culture Days is a coast-to-coast-to-coast event which raises awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of arts and culture in communities across Canada. Artists, organizations and community groups host fun and free activities, and all are welcome to attend. On September 28, 2013, I passed by the Kelowna Art Gallery and saw artists of all ages working on an outdoor masterpiece.

As I headed toward the library, I saw some yarn bombing.

And then, some more. It made me smile.

At the library, there was a talk about the Philippine Islands, with entertaining songs and dances followed by delicious Filipino snacks and beverages. There was a flower wreath dance that was particularly pretty.

In the evening, there was a Culture Days Jam held in the Mary Irwin Theatre at the Rotary Centre for the Arts. The first performance was by One Camel Short.

They play World Fusion style music. The band consists of (left to right): Murray MacDonald (guitar), Jim Copeman (frame drum and djembe), Nathaniel Huard (riq and bongos) and Richard Owings (violin).

The Great Way Martial Arts students had some outstanding moves, including leaps so high and too quick for my camera to catch!

The Jin Meng and OCCA Dance Star Program performances included graceful adults…

… and cute children in duck costumes!

The Mission Dance Centre put on quite an elaborate performance.

There was a lot happening on that stage.

Even flamenco dancers with castanets.

Ginger and Rose played guitar and sang a few folk tunes.

Chloé Gravel also played guitar and sang sweetly.

Yet another guitarist, Hammed Gahadd, sang with a wonderful falsetto.

Cherie Hanson recited a few of her own poems.

The evening ended with an energetic performance of Yamabiko Taiko Japanese drumming.

There were over 50 events in Kelowna alone, and I attended just these. It was an amazing array of talent. Look out for Culture Days next year, wherever in Canada you live!

Cherryville Vaudeville

The Canadian Only team attended “a dazzling display of heterogeneous splendour designed to educate, edify, amaze and uplift” – at Cherryville’s Vaudeville show on October 19, 2013 in British Columbia. The photo above is a very entertaining tongue-twisting song sung by Kale acting as King Karacticus with his harem, nose powderer and witches.

Angel Thistle performed a beautiful rendition of the Canadian folk song, “The Log Driver’s Waltz“, which I remember as a Canadian vignette played on television circa 1979 (see the original video).

Angel Thistle singing "The Log Driver's Waltz"

Gary Toma performed on various handmade instruments he used, while Master of Ceremonies, Brad, grew a moustache magically, hair-by-hair, throughout the event.

Gary Toma playing handmade instrument while Master of Ceremonies, Brad, looks on

Barb Crebo sang and read poetry from a cat’s point of view.

Barb Crebo

Many others entertained in hilarious and talented ways. Volunteers cooked up and served a pasta feast, with ingredients donated by local businesses. Valuable door prizes and stunning auction items were donated by artists. We were successful on three items we bid on: a framed picture of an Okanagan scene by Ernest Laviolette, a glass sunflower charm bracelet made by Helen Kovacs, and a piece of Raku pottery created by Jen Moore.

For me, the most memorable performance was Doug Becker’s “Little Ms Piggytails” shadow dancing, which had the audience in hysterics!

Someone had left a pretty mask on our table, so I posed for a photo, too. (You can see some of the auction items in the background on the right-hand side.)

Annie Zed

An awesome time was had by all. It’s great when a small community pulls together like this and comes out to support their neighbours and the arts. To find out more about the Cherryville Artisans Association, visit our article about the Cherryville Artisans Shop.