I’ve always loved Halloween. It was my favorite holiday as a kid. I think the age of thirteen is the standard and proper age to stop trick or treating; the first teen-year, the first year of high school should mean stop to most kids. I stopped at 17, I couldn’t help it, society made me a Halloween addict: all that free candy waiting to be handed out all over town, how can you expect me to stop?
In grade nine I was away from home for the first time at boarding school in Port Hope. I had been planning not to go out that Halloween. But when six o’clock rolled around I could hear all of the candy all over town calling my name. I had to go out and answer that call.
But, first I needed a costume. I thought best go with the classic ghost costume, cutting a hole in the middle of my white sheet for my head and two holes in my pillow case to see through, rope around my waist to hold it all together and voila, I’m Casper the Ghost.
This is Port Hope, Ontario, deep within the rural, WASPy heartland of Ontario, so, what are the odds that the very first door I would knock on would be answered by a black man?
“Trick or Treat!” I shout, thinking how clever I am that I’ve got a pillow case on my head, hiding my teenage face.
“What are you?”
I think my costume must be scary, cause this man looks freaked out. “I’m a ghost,” I say, holding out a plastic bag, waiting for candy.
“Are you sure?” he asks, “why don’t you come in and see for yourself.”
The man points me to the hall mirror. I’m dressed up as the Ku Klux Klan. Probably the only black family in the entire town of Port Hope, and I’m knocking at their door as the KKK, begging for candy.
“Trick or treat! KKK about to light a cross on your lawn, but, could use a mini kit kat before getting to work!”