Happy Halloween

October 31, 2020

A woman dressed as a human-sized banana sat breastfeeding a baby, dressed as a bumblebee, next to the little kids’ play structure at Ossington-Old Orchard Public School. Nearby a scavenger hunt unfolded – princesses, pirates, a Super Mario, gathered around a guy dressed in a green leotard that did not quite flatter his body, with his green eye-mask pushed up over his forehead.

Under a maple tree a family sat eating burgers.

A group of Brits played cricket with tennis balls behind the Catholic school. Three guys stood chatting in the field, one nursing a can of beer; the batsman hit a fly ball and one guy stopped talking long enough to catch the ball and casually toss it back.

Beside them in the field sat a group of women, one in a huge white afro of a clown costume, chatting; nearby was a spread of food including a tupperware tub of fresh baked cookies that our dog, Coco, sniffed with great interest until I yanked her away. The women cooed over the dog.

Everywhere, bright autumn leaves blanketed the grass. Nearby gathered another group, some on bikes, with plackards that read, “Leave Us Alone,” and “We Have Nowhere to Go.” I believe they were coming from, or going to, a protest against evictions of people who have camped in Toronto parks since COVID began.

None of this is normal. None of this would have happened on a regular Saturday afternoon. And somehow it makes me feel optimistic about the human spirit.

I went home and sat on our front porch and carved the pumpkin I bought before the province announced a ban on trick or treating in Toronto. It’s still nice to put a lighted pumpkin on your porch, even if no little costumed kids show up.

Covid or not, the Great Pumpkin will rise over the pumpkin patch tonight; it’s a Happy Halloween after all.