Wilson has everything from animatronics and decorations to live actors on hand, waiting to scare the trick-or-treaters brave enough to walk down his driveway.
The price of admission to the popular neighbourhood haunted house is a non-perishable food item for the food bank.
Wilson says the food bank made a difference in his life shortly after he had a heart attack eight years ago.
“We had a child in the house and I didn’t know how I was going to feed her for the next few days,” he said. “If it wasn’t for the Partners in Mission Food Bank, I think we would have starved for a few days.”
Along with providing food hampers, the Partners in Mission Food Bank helps support 16 local hot meal and shelter programs in the Kingston region.
In order to participate, all it takes is a teal pumpkin or a sign letting the little trick-or-treaters know there are allergy safe options available. There’s also a map where people can register their homes.
Abigail Frasz decided to join thousands worldwide by participating in Regina’s Teal Pumpkin Project for the first time this year.
“There was one year a little boy came up to the house and said, ‘Oh no I can’t have that, I just want to show you my costume,’ and his mom mouthed and went, ‘Food allergy’ and I went, ‘Oh,’” Frasz said.
Having a daughter with food allergies, Megan Kaytor started promoting the project in Regina two years ago.
“Peanuts is a huge one and many people do offer the non-peanut treats, but for ones like mine who can’t eat any dairy, gluten, soy, eggs, it’s very limiting,” Kaytor said.
While it’s slowly growing, Kaytor hopes more people will start participating.
“Last year I think there was about 12 houses, and this year when I saw the map there was only three so I started promoting it,” Kaytor said. “I started sharing the links; now there’s 25 houses on the map.”
As another option, the City of Regina is also selling healthy Halloween passes for a free child admission to any leisure facility.
“We invite residents who are interested in offering healthy options or healthy options and candy, or allergy-free options to buy a pack of 10 child and youth admissions for five dollars and give those out [on Halloween],” said Melissa Coderre, coordinator of business services for the City of Regina.
Meanwhile, Frasz is busy getting ready for her favourite spooky holiday, knowing she’s helping make a difference.
“It doesn’t take very much time to make a kid’s day,” Frasz said, “and putting a little positivity out there is what our community needs and I’m glad this will keep growing.”
When it comes to costumes for kids, Barber suggested considering safety and comfort.
“Make sure the costume is large enough to wear a coat underneath, glow sticks or reflective clothing so you can be seen by people and traffic, and if you have a costume that has a mask, cut the eye holes bigger so you can see better.”
WATCH: Last-minute Halloween costumes and activities
If you left furniture on the front porch on Halloween night in the 1930s, you were foolish. May as well hang your chairs on the nearby telephone wires yourself, and save the kids the trouble.
A general “hooliganism” prevailed in those days: wagons dismantled and reassembled across town, windows soaped up, outhouses knocked over. It was so widespread that “you couldn’t arrest everybody — you wouldn’t have any place to put them,” a Toronto police historian once said.
In 1936, there was a man who defied that accepted wisdom. His name was Roscoe Casement, and he was the village constable of Richmond Hill. On Halloween night he rounded up six boys he believed were up to no good, and he brought them straight to the old town jail.
And then his life got complicated.
From Toronto, Richmond Hill was due north on Yonge St., up a great big hill: “Toronto’s Highest and Healthiest Suburb!” the signs used to proclaim. About 1,300 people lived there, and you could tell their religion by the direction they walked each Sunday morning. The horticultural industry was an important employer, and roses were a source of economic growth and local pride. Only the most beautiful Richmond Hill roses were sent to the world, and greenhouse workers were known to rescue the imperfect blooms from the garbage pile. Bernice Edmunds, now 92, remembers those days well.Her father took a pay cut during the Depression, but their home on Roseview Ave. was always fragrant with rejected roses of every colour.
People who lived in Richmond Hill were a careful lot. During the difficult years of the 1930s, the village reduced town salaries by 10 per cent. The community was dry years before Ontario enforced Prohibition on alcohol consumption, and it stayed dry until 1958. (Last week, the town council banned recreational cannabis smoking and vaping in public places.) As a village constable, Casement was a model of efficiency. He started the fires in the municipal building every morning at 7, dug drains, caught dogs, inspected sanitation, fixed things around town, and did police work when needed.
“There would be a lot of chores because there weren’t that many bad guys,” Edmunds explains. “But we had a town drunk. I won’t name him.”
The politicians wanted to get ahead of Halloween pranks that had long plagued the town. It was common for boys in town to get up to mischief, and the aggrieved parties often sent the bill to the village. In 1936 the “town fathers” decided they would distract the children with a party. There would be a fancy dress parade down Yonge St., and a movie at the arena — secured at considerable expense, mind you.
Edmunds, who was around 10, remembers walking south on Yonge in a Little Red Riding Hood costume her mother made from crepe paper. The destination was the big wooden arena, where she skated to the waltzes when the air was cold enough to make natural ice.
Edmunds doesn’t remember the stink bomb (“I just remember the good parts I guess”) but the local paper said the putrid smell was the first sign the “big party wasn’t being appreciated in the right way.”
Casement was the last line of defence. He was under orders from Reeve John Greene, known as Johnny to the locals, to “hold anybody” caught damaging property.
The first call of trouble came from C.H. Sanderson. Sanderson was a homebuilder and board of education official, and according to the city’s inventory of heritage homes, he lived on Roseview Ave. — one street over from the arena.
He had painted the steps of his veranda earlier in the day (“He was inviting trouble,” a local mused) and that night, a crew of boys were “having fun” at his expense. They moved a hay wagon on his front lawn and put “debris” on his newly painted steps. They scattered when he chased them but Sanderson was able to grab two of the youngest boys: Murray Bowes, 9, and Stanley Baker, 11.
He turned them over to Casement, and expected there would be a stern drive home. But Casement had his orders.
“What would he do with these kids, if he caught one?” says Edmunds, who knew Casement as Ross, the village constable. “He knew about the old jail so he stuck them in there.”
In the annals of Richmond Hill history, the Halloween lockup of 1936 has been overshadowed by other gems, like that time in 1939 when the king and queen came through town on their railway tour of Canada. The couple didn’t have time to stop, but the entire village waved as they came through town, and children put their pennies on the tracks so they’d have a souvenir. A little girl had been chosen to toss a bouquet of Richmond Hill roses at the slow-moving train, but she didn’t have a major-league arm. While accounts differ, Edmunds remembers a man — she thinks it was Reeve Greene — who ran to the tracks to tryagain, throwing them (respectfully) at the royal caboose.
Richmond Hill now has 195,000 people, but it still calls itself a town. The timeline on the walls of the local heritage centre reflects the major milestones, including the early settlement, the wars, the growth of the rose industry. There is no mention of Halloween 1936, but a few doors down, the old town park where it all went wrong is still a beacon of recreation, with a modern arena on site. Near the entrance, there is a mural of Reeve Greene painted on a utility box, reminding citizens to not trample flowers and plants.
The old jail was built near this spot back in the Victorian era. It was a squat brick building that looked like a child’s drawing of a house, a square with a perfect triangle roof. By the 1930s, it was seen as an eyesore and a source of instability because of the “transients” who slept there during the Depression years. Edmunds remembers she would whistle a tune to “take courage” as she walked by, because she was never sure who was in there. In 1934, the village appeased some of the villagers by moving the jail deeper into the town park, but that only angered the residents of another street.
“Right now if the stately old coop could suddenly become articulate its theme song would surely be “Nobody Loves Me,” the local paper, the Richmond Hill Liberal, noted in 1934. The jail eventually found a home in the north side of the park, where it was hidden from the street by the arena.
One of the six men sleeping in the jail on Halloween was J. Clarke. He was a Scot who had owned a grocery store but had fallen into financial ruin, like many who travelled the country looking for work. The deal was: if you sawed a certain amount of wood for the municipal woodpile, you got supper, a night in the jail, and breakfast. Clarke, who was interviewed by the Star as he made his way to the tracks to hop a train bound for Whitby, said he had children of his own, and couldn’t imagine them locked in jail. He felt for the boys, who were sitting on a foldout bed in the cell. One was crying. Soon, four others joined them, brought by Casement.
“We told them not to worry and that they would be out before long,” Clarke said.
Meanwhile, word was spreading around town.
In the dark night, a large group of “indignant citizens” surrounded the old building. Some of the young men broke the padlock, freeing everybody inside.
“We told them to beat it,” Clarke said, “before the bull came back.”
According to the handwritten account in the local history room of the Richmond Hill library, the Nov. 2 village council meeting began with the usual gripes. Edith Morris appealed her assessment. Mary Riley complained that she had no sidewalk.
Then Murray Bowes’s father asked a new question. What authority did the village have for putting young children in jail?
The politicians didn’t really have answers. Halloween vandalism had long been a problem. But one councillor conceded that jailing children “might be wrong” but really, it’s hard to know what to do “in such a case.” Property had to be protected, after all. The reeve was out of town for a funeral, so the council thought it best to wait until he returned to investigate.
Word of the shenanigans had reached Toronto, and the Star had a front-page story that night: “Six boys put in jail for Halloween fun.” Inside the paper, there was a photo of the jail, pictures of two of the boys, and a detailed map of the lockup.
Murray Bowes’s parents said the “real culprits” were older boys who had run away. Murray and Stanley were easy pickings, “ambushed” by Sanderson and thrown into jail by “our brave constable.”
“Why did council appoint such a man?” Murray’s mother asked.
Villagers opened up to reporters, giving them every possible angle. One Toronto newspaper had “no less than six staff men here at one time,” the Richmond Hill Liberal marvelled.
By the third day of coverage, there were charges of nepotism. Mr. Sanderson — who had reported the pranks — well, his very own nephew had been there, too. “I got away because I could run faster,” Bobby Endean told the Star.
“All boys should be treated alike,” Mrs. Bowes said, “regardless of “influential relatives.”
Casement defended himself. He was only acting on the reeve’s orders to stop trespassing and destruction of property by “holding anyone found doing so.” And sure, the reeve never said to put the children in jail, but where else could he put them?
“I couldn’t hold them on the street while other destruction of property was going on,” he said.
None of the boys were locked up more than an hour and a half, and he was frankly a little annoyed that someone had damaged the lock.
“I have not been able to find out who broke the lock and released them, but when I do it will go hard with them,” he said.
The story was featured in the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times. As much as you could go viral before the dawn of the internet, Casement had done it. Updates on the drama were a daily front-page staple in the Star. They ran underneath photos of newly elected U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. They ran underneath a smiling Adolf Hitler shaking hands with Mussolini’s son-in-law, cementing the Italo-German accord that “may prove to be among the most momentous in the history of Europe.”
The Richmond Hill Liberal called it a “startling” amount of publicity. The ugly old jail was “irrepressible as far as the news columns are concerned,” they wrote. “One of the hardest things to live down will be the wisecracks of your friends in Toronto and elsewhere who when you appear on the scene will no doubt remind you that you are from that town where the stern arm of the law reaches right down to the kindergarten.”
Officials from children’s welfare groups pronounced Casement’s justice unreasonable and retrograde, but some villagers agreed with it. “It will teach them to obey the law,” one man said. One councillor wistfully remembered when he was locked up in a “pot hole” on his farm as a mischievous child.
“Casement took the wrong attitude,” Murray Bowes’s father said. “Down in York Township the police played with the boys on Halloween instead of putting them in jail.”
Murray had been so upset, he made 10 mistakes in his spelling test. Stanley’s mother said he had trouble sleeping.
“These children,” one high-ranking Queen’s Park official said, “may well bear the stamp of their terrifying experience for the rest of their days.”
Although six boys had been locked up, the newspaper coverage focused on the youngest two: Murray Bowes and Stan Baker.
Edmunds knew Bowes later in life. He and her husband used to talk about stocks and bonds, but not Halloween. She lost touch after her husband’s death. The Star was not able to contact Bowes, but the Star library found an obituary for a Stanley Baker, who died in 2012. The age was a match.
“Well isn’t that interesting,” his wife, Dorothy Baker, said when reached on the phone. “As soon as you mentioned the Halloween escapade I knew you had the right one.”
Dorothy, now 92, was from the nearby town of Aurora. She met the dashing Stan at a high school dance. Not long into their courtship he disclosed his “time in jail,” she says. The way she had heard it, an outhouse had been pushed over by some older boys. Stan hadn’t been involved, “but he was with the kids who were,” she says. “Of course, his parents pointed out to him then, you have to watch who your friends are.”
She said Stan did not “bear the stamp of his terrifying experience for the rest of his days,” as provincial officials had feared, nor did he hold a grudge.
He laughed about it, but “I’m not sure his parents were very proud of that,” she says. “They had hoped it would fade away.”
Stan always respected authority. This was his only brush with the law, aside from a few speeding tickets. At her home in Uxbridge, photos of her husband from their 65 years of marriage are spread on a coffee table as she reminisces.
During their years in Haliburton and retirement in Uxbridge, everyone knew Baker as a friendly guy, the sort who quipped to his neighbours, “What a beautiful day” when it was raining. At the gas station, the grocery store, outside of church, he was always up for a chat. But not about this. He wasn’t hiding it — it was just something that happened a lifetime ago.
“None of our children knew about it — when we told them they were like ‘Whoa, Grandpa,’ ” says Stan’s daughter-in-law Cathy Baker.
“It doesn’t sound like Grandpa,” Dorothy says, chuckling.
When Reeve Greene came back to town, he said there had been damage on Halloween, but he wasn’t sure if the jailed children were the culprits. He had bigger problems to deal with. Ontario’s public welfare minister, David Croll, had sent an investigator to Richmond Hill to assess Casement’s “Dark Ages” methods. Then he ordered the village to dismiss him — not from his municipal duties, but from his police work.
Nobody wanted Casement to lose his job. He made a mistake, but he was no “enemy of the children.” The village was a small place; he lived a few blocks from Baker and Bowes. He had a family.
“Even the boys’ mothers do not want the constable dismissed,” the Globe and Mail noted, “And mothers whose sons are clapped in jail because of merely mischievous conduct generally are pretty mad about it.”
The village councillors pleaded Casement’s case in the press. He was “just a general town caretaker,” and policing was a spare-time duty. Another constable investigated criminal acts in the district.
“While I deeply regret the unwise action of our constable I deplore the unnecessary and wholly unwarranted publicity given to the matter,” the reeve wrote to Queen’s Park.
In the weekend papers, a letter in the Star supported Casement, as did a small editorial in the Globe.
“Therefore let Roscoe Casement remain as Richmond Hill’s constable,” the Globe pronounced. “It is a long time till next Halloween anyway.”
Casement didn’t lose his job, but two years later, he was back on the Star’s front page, underneath the Dionne quintuplets, who were due to have their tonsils removed. Reeve Greene had summoned families of local boys to a special meeting, asking them to pay for the most recent spate of Halloween vandalism. The meeting did not go well. Casement “admitted he had not seen any of the boys actually damaging property,” the Star reported. “But he said he had found them running about the streets.”
One column to the left, the world was inching closer to war, and a headline predicted that German Jews would pay for an attack on diplomat Ernst Vom Rath. The German envoy had been shot in Paris by a 17-year-old “Polish Jew.” Retaliation was already happening with beatings and rumours of expulsions. Vom Rath died the next day and Nazis unleashed a wave of violence on Jewish people, businesses and synagogues. It came to be known as the Night of the Broken Glass, or Kristallnacht. It was, as the New York Times wrote on the 50th anniversary, “the end of any lingering illusion about the inclinations or intentions of the Nazis.”
By 1939, Canada was at war with Germany — and most of the children from the Halloween incident were in high school. Bernice Edmunds remembers that first week of school. Everybody listened to Hitler “rant and rave” on the radio at a school-wide assembly. The boys in her grade were “growing up” out of their “mischief years,” and then the war came. Everybody was busy — enlisting, volunteering, building airplanes in Malton. Too busy for pranks.
In 1942, after seven years of service, Roscoe Casement resigned as the village caretaker and policeman. His replacement was Stan Baker’s father, Leslie, a “well known citizen of the village,” according to the Richmond Hill Liberal. There was no mention of the unpleasant incident that had drawn both men together.
The next year, Stan Baker signed up for the navy.
“Conscription was going to be upon us, and Stan knew that,” Dorothy says. “Anyway, at 18, you know you’re gung-ho for anything.”
He made roughly 22 wartime crossings of the Atlantic Ocean. He always respected the captain of the ship and never understood when some of the other young men didn’t. Their lives were in his hands, he’d say. He proposed to Dorothy at the end of the war and they were married in 1947. By then, he had charmed her parents, who had initially been a little wary of his Halloween infamy.
“They felt the marriage was a good one,” she said.
He got a job working for H.J. Mills rose growers after the war, and then he spent his career in school board administration. He had a busy life with his children and grandchildren. He loved spending time with his family, Dorothy says.
Comme chaque année, Disneyland Paris nous invite à vivre le grand frisson. Jusqu’au 4 novembre, le parc vibrera aux couleurs d’Halloween afin de nous plonger en plein cœur d’une expérience spectaculaire, entre feux d’artifice et maléfices. Au programme ? Un festival de citrouilles, un roncier géant et des parades hautes en couleur. Au fil de la journée, vous pourrez rencontrer les plus célèbres Méchants Disney et découvrir leur tout nouveau spectacle au Théâtre du Château. L’occasion de retrouver la Reine de Blanche Neige et les Sept Nains, Cruella (Les 101 Dalmatiens), Jafar (Aladdin) ou encore Donald, déguisé en Maléfique (La Belle au Bois Dormant). Pour la Célébration Halloween de Mickey, le parc présente également un tout nouveau char, « Le Manoir aux Illusions de Mickey », afin de jouer des tours aux nombreux visiteurs. Une expérience idéale pour passer Halloween en famille et en prendre plein les yeux.
Cette saison, le festival Halloween surfe également sur les 90 ans de Mickey et propose « Mickey et son Orchestre PhilharMagique », une toute nouvelle attraction. De quoi célébrer les plus grands classiques Disney et vibrer au rythme de vos chansons préférées. Un moment de nostalgie, enthousiaste et festif.
Le Festival Halloween, jusqu’au 4 novembre à Disneyland Paris Boulevard de Parc, 77700 Coupvray Pour plus de renseignements, rendez-vous sur disneylandparis.fr
Canadians planning their Halloween costumes should be wary of decorative contact lenses, according to health officials.
Health Canada warned in a recent release that while such decorative lenses are popular additions to Halloween attire, they can pose risks such as cuts or scratches on corneas, allergic reactions, impaired vision, infections and even blindness.
Decorative contact lenses, also referred to by other names such as “fashion,” “costume” or “cosmetic” lenses, don’t correct vision but change how eyes look.
The public health agency warned that such lenses can be sold at unlicensed novelty stores, flea markets or online, which means they could contain harmful ingredients such as toxic dyes.
WATCH: 27 contact lenses fused together found in woman’s right eye
Health Canada advises those who want decorative lenses to stick to companies licensed by the public health agency. These companies have products that are tested for safety and quality.
The following companies are licensed by sellers of decorative contact lenses in Canada: Alcon Laboratories Inc., Bausch & Lomb Inc., Ciba Vision Corporation, Coopervision Inc., Geo Medical Co., Ltd., Les Lesieur Enterprises Inc., Neo Vision Co. Ltd., Unicon Optical Co., Ltd.
The health agency also has a myriad of other tips for those using the lenses this Halloween, including properly cleaning and disinfecting them, never sleeping with them on, never sharing them with others, and talking to licensed eye-care professionals if there is any discomfort. Some forms of discomfort may include itchy, watery or red eyes and blurriness.
WATCH: The consequences of neglecting your contact lenses
“No one should purchase, and then wear, cosmetic lenses directly from a retail outlet without a prescription and professional oversight. The risks are far too high,” Dr. Allan Slomovic, who works with the COS, said in the release.
The Canadian Association of Optometrists added that those dressing up for Halloween should also stay away from applying makeup products near the lid or lash line that are not specifically designed for the area.
It noted that some people use blush or red lip liner around the eye, which could transfer bacteria from other parts of the face to inside the eye and cause an infection.
“Vision is precious. If novelty contact lenses are the finishing touch for your Halloween costume, see your doctor of optometry first,” a statement from the organization read.