Back in Toronto, it was pretty much a routine: 6 p.m. — little kids, sometimes even toddlers, accompanied by anxious parents; 7 p.m. — the big rush, with kids from 5 to 10 years old; 8 p.m. — the somewhat older crowd, maybe up to 12 years old; 9 p.m. — the big lugs, the teenagers, often with no costumes or make-up at all.
This Halloween, in Daglan, there was quite a different ambience. First of all, it was really slow — just three young girls (two of them our neighbours) before 7 p.m. Then absolute silence. We thought it was all over — until about 9 p.m. And then the door-pounding started, as group after group of young kids, probably in the 8-year-old to 10-year-old range, showed up. And then that was it — no teenagers.
A few things struck us. First, that there doesn’t seem to be any French version of “Trick or treat!” The kids just showed up, said “Bon soir” (or nothing at all), and held out their bags. Second, they all looked pretty great; the costumes seemed surprisingly good, without much attempt to be scary or horrific. Third, they all seemed genuinely thrilled that we actually opened the door, and actually had very nice treats for them (large, individually wrapped chocolates). And finally, they were wonderfully polite. As my wife and I would say “Bonne soirée” to them, they would answer back politely, “Et bonne soiréee à vous, aussi.” Quite adorable, really. Here’s one little group, heading down the front steps: