Tucsonians to Canadians. A very bad idea!
One day my dad announced to us that our family would be uprooting from Tucson Arizona and moving to Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada.
Manitoba, is much like a frozen Texas. Actually, exactly like a frozen Texas. It’s flat. It’s frozen. What more do I need to say?
Winnipeg can reach -50F, and then comes the wind-chill making it feel even colder. We plug in our cars during winter so the battery doesn’t freeze solid. For whatever reason, American friends think I’m lying about the car batteries. I lie, but not about that. And I prefer the word exaggerate.
Although Winnipeg Manitoba can get cold there are places that get MUCH colder. Yes, people actually live in those places too, I’m not sure how.
My Family’s Education on Canadian Halloween – Churchill
We were home-schooled and my mom, being the perfect homeschooling mom that she was, thought it would be a good idea to learn about Winnipeg before we moved.
So we piled into the home-schooler’s limo (suburban) and drove to the home-schooler’s oasis (Tucson library) where we rented a video that was supposed to be about Manitoba (it wasn’t).
The entire video was based on Churchill.
If you’re a Canadian you’re already laughing. If you are an ignorant American like we were, let me explain. Churchill is nothing like Winnipeg. It’s like renting a video about music, knowing nothing about music, never heard music and having the whole thing based on Abba. Accurate? Yes, Abba technically played music… instruments + words=technical music. However, it’s not a fair portrayal.
Churchill is 1,166.3 miles NORTH of Winnipeg.
Yes, there are things North of Winnipeg. As I’m writing this, on Nov 18 the weather in Churchill says light snow and -23 degrees Celsius. That’s -9 for you Americans. Winnipeg today is -1 Celsius or 30F. So, they are different. Very different.
My Evil Pastoral Family
The only thing I remember clearly about the video was Halloween. Even though I’m a PK there’s a strange irony in our family in that we didn’t just acknowledge Halloween, we LOVED Halloween. We celebrated Halloween and it was only ever upstaged by Christmas.
My dad was always more excited than any of us kids. My sister, Amanda and I used to draw witches and ghosts and put them all over our house, next to the pictures of Jesus. Just kidding, we didn’t have any of those. Our patio was an obstacle course of homemade decorations. My dad played a cassette tape with screams and creepy laughs so loud the whole neighborhood could hear it.
I remember one year when I was about 7, Halloween was on a Sunday so our church had festival instead of trick-or-treating. Lame. My sister and I were incredibly upset, and decided to go as Biblical villains. Stick it to the man, or in this case the ministry. That’s wrong….
She wore her witch costume as the Witch of Endor. Look it up. I wore the Princess Jasmine costume as the evil Queen Jezebel. Believe me, pastors kids know their biblical witches and villains.
(For those of you wondering how well this pale kid pulled off Princess Jasmine, not.well… I was a bucktooth freckled Irish kid at the threshold of what would become a very long awkward stage. Wanting to be a beautiful exotic princess for a day is not a big deal. Even now I can’t watch Aladdin without a serious case of insecurity issues and boob envy.)
What was I writing about?
Oh, Canada. —pun intended.
I was happy to see that Canadians practiced Halloween. This meant that Canadians not only had candy, but if Canadians practice Halloween perhaps they also practiced the rest of our favorite days like Easter, Christmas or Birthdays!
Then things went horribly wrong.
Everything That is Wrong With Canadian Halloween.
As the time approached to go out, every kid covered their costume with parka’s, mitts and touque’s. You could barely see their little faces, let alone tell what their costumes were supposed to be. Their costumes eventually became “hockey player” or “cold Canadian”.
None of my friends would have seen my pale, curve-less, nerdy interpretation of Princess Jasmine. That’s probably the for best, might explain why I had more friends in Canada than I ever did in Tucson…
On this particular Halloween, there was an approaching blizzard. These little, round, shielded, somewhat warm children marched from door to door in hopes of collecting enough candy before a complete white out of snowy sadness took their holiday away from them.
Amanda and I watched in horror and amazement as we saw how Canadians celebrated, or rather survived our favorite day. I was heartbroken for them. As a little desert girl that used to think snow was a beautiful gift from the sky, I learned for the first time in my life what snow REALLY is. I was so moved by their bravery I wanted to join my brothers and sisters in arms by sending them some yummy American aid. (aka my Reese’s stash. )
If this were the only problem Halloween faced in Churchill, I might have been okay. I may have been optimistic thinking that a blizzard can’t come EVERY Halloween. However, this wasn’t the case.
Compounded with the risk of freezing to death in a mystical white grave, there had been some recent sightings of polar bears.
I’ll say that again in case you missed it. POLAR. BEARS.
Thus, in Canadian fashion the bear patrol was called out to protect the little children from being eaten by hungry, foraging POLAR. BEARS.
Suddenly, Halloween got very real.
Of course, my first Canadian Halloween came and went and a bear never ate me. But I usually did cover up my costume with coats and hats and mitts. Most Halloweens it did snow or rain but never like the blizzard in Churchill.
I still think about those poor brave little kids, trekking through snow, risking their lives for a pillow case of candy. I wouldn’t change my days in Winnipeg for anything – and I thank God Winnipeg is over 1000 miles SOUTH of Churchill.