Hammertime: Halloween and harvest

Hammertime looks at harvest, Halloween and Ponoka’s busy fall/winter

Mike Rainone

Hammertime

Once our October finally decided to kick into the magnificent ‘fall mode’ we have all been so blessed with a pretty good harvest, a balmy evening for Halloween hoot and howl, and a keen spirit of enthusiasm as we head into November and all the gala festivities that will follow.

Despite the fact that the geese may still be preparing for their long trip south and a few golf fanatics are still chipping away, we all hope that the crops are all safe in the bins, and that old Man Winter will come in like a lamb…just a little later on.

Halloween was a family affair

I really hate to admit it but at the age of 76 I don’t get to pumped up about Halloween any more, but this year turned out to be a great new adventure, as we gathered together with visiting son, daughter-in-law and two very energetic four-year and four-month old grandchildren from ‘down under’ Australia to help us bring back some favourite trick or treat memories and shenanigans.

After getting a ‘sneak peak’ of their cute and scary costumes being primped and prepared by parents and siblings, we rolled up our sleeves and started carving up a whole bunch of pumpkins. Grandpa got appointed to scrape and dig out all of the ‘gunk’ out from the insides, and then sat back in my chair and watched the younger set cut, carve, and transform those orange hulks into the magical and mystical Halloween faces of fun, fantasy, fear, and frenzy.

Then we carefully put the candles in, lit them up, and let them flicker and glow out on the deck until all of the tiny creatures of that spooky Oct. 31st evening had all gone home with their bags full of treats. For the first time in many years grandma and I bundled up and joined the rest of the family and went out on a ‘T-and-T’ adventure around the neighbourhood, at least for a little while. It was indeed a real treat going door to door as well as watching a steady flow of youngsters dressed in fabulous costumes of the old and ultra-modern eras, followed closely by dedicated and patient parents close behind with flashlights, extra gloves, lots if Kleenexes, and a warm car close-by. But of course, as always, the ‘grown-up’ Halloween fraternity were also likely dressing up and getting ready to let loose a little later for their annual goofy and spooky Oct. 31st frolics out and about the community at the local licensed ‘Pumpkin Patches’ or house parties? Kind of reminded yours truly of way back in those wild and woolly days in and around Ponoka when our old crew of good friends and neighbours held our annual ‘shorts and shoes only race’ around the block, as well as the Halloween night that I dressed up as the Wizard of Oz and got lost in the old nurses’ residence at the Alberta Hospital.

Due to the fact that our kids sadly had to go back home long before dear old Santa makes his ‘central Alberta run’, we decided to host a surprise ‘Christmas in November’ celebration at our condo, with all the trimmings, which we all enjoyed, even though they had to go out and purchase another suit-case for their 15,451 kilometre trip back to Perth, Australia.

One can’t help but notice that the next morning after Halloween night all the stores have magically transformed into total ‘Christmas mode’, with rows upon rows of toys and gift temptations for all ages, the sparkling displays of old and new festive decorations from trees to tinsels, and the jolly music and traditions of the season being heard and seen everywhere. Even though it is still only early November, this always warm and friendly spirit and good will soon spreads throughout each and every community, growing by leaps and bounds for the next 48 exciting days, and of course celebrated along the way by all sorts of amazing family festivities and events.

Just a hint of some of those fabulous events now in the planning for this forthcoming festive season in and around Ponoka this year will include: The gala Festival of Trees (Nov. 15 to 17), Almost Midnight Madness shopping spree and tree-lighting on Nov. 30, the CP Holiday Train on Dec. 9th at 3:45 p.m., as well as the Christmas Farmer’s Markets, craft fairs, and lots of church, school, and other concerts and special events, and jolly surprise visits from Santa and the gang, only to mention a few.

Please watch for the posters and check the Ponoka News, and then fill your monthly calendar full of family fun from now until Dec. 25th. No matter what it may send our way, don’t worry about the weather, just go ahead and have a great week, all of you.

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