With the Covid nightmare, trick-or-treating is not really happening – at least it’s not supposed to be here in Toronto. Yet this year I found the rituals of Halloween soothing, but in an odd way. Soothing in the way that putting calamine lotion on a mosquito bite calms the itch for 2 min but then you need to put more lotion on. Like a slightly obsessive compulsive soothing.
I probably went to the Dollar Store 15 times, each time buying a couple of skulls, or ghosts made out of hideous flammable materials. I would stare at the walls of merchandise, (while wearing my mask of course) and think, “I just need to find the perfect witch…” Insert “and everything will be alright.” A vaccine will be found for Covid. Biden/Harris will win the election. I will get to visit my brother in NYC and my Oncologist will find solutions to treat the weird symptoms I’ve been experiencing lately.
I would return home and add the decorations to our postage-sized front lawn. Then I would stare at it, as if I were a fancy landscape artist trying to decide where to plant an expensive shrub. And each time I would think “it just needs one more hanging ghoul, or sparkly pumpkin and everything will be perfect.” Of course perfection never came and finally I had to cut myself off from what was becoming an unhealthy compulsion.
It’s now Halloween evening. I have two giant bowls of chocolate bars and chips and I’m wearing a sparkly unicorn headband. So far we’ve had one early trick-or-treater whom we had planned on seeing: our neighbour’s one and a half year old child, dressed like a terrified fox. He picked a matching fox-orange bag of cheetos from the bowl, a socially-distanced bowl. And for a minute everything felt normal. Our face masks not withstanding, it felt like just another Halloween. A joyful night filled with candy and costumes and faux scariness. The real scariness temporarily swept away by the Dollar Store witch’s broomstick. It was a lovely moment.