As Halloween draws near, let’s honour the many victims of Halloween.
First, there are the 139 victims of Michael Myers, the villain of 10 Halloween movies, including sequels and remakes. Rest in peace, screen people, and especially you Jamie Lee Curtis, aka Laurie Strode; you were there from the beginning.
There are also the long-suffering parents, agonizing to make, purchase, borrow, or assemble the perfect costume for their spawn. That same costume will be cast off 30 minutes into the school day when the child realizes the limitations of wearing an entire string of LED lights to gym class.
And then, there is the true victim of Halloween: the noble pumpkin; it sacrifices again and again, nary a tear falling from its triangle eyes.
Such a majestic vegetable has sadly become the object of gleeful smashing. The same organism that gives us luscious pumpkin pies is routinely disemboweled and left to rot and freeze on front porches across the continent.
Oh, the carnage.
The environmental cost of jack o’ lanterns must be staggering. If I were a brighter person (rather than the dim light casting shadows on Halloween’s gaiety year-after year), I could calculate the enormous resources that go into growing a pumpkin: the water, the fertilizer, the arable land.
Then I might add up the fossil fuels that go into transporting skids of pumpkins to Whitehorse so I can watch my five-year-old wield a sharp knife on the kitchen floor.
And then there’s the lost food resource: all those stews, loaves, and cheesecakes, gone forever.
And the pies, dear God, the pies!
This year, I’ve resolved to make my family’s Halloween experience more sustainable.
My children will not wear cheap, store-bought costumes that rip when squeezed over a snowsuit; this year, my children will dress as each other. The best part being that they look identical.
Also, I will not open the door repeatedly throughout the evening, letting precious fossil-fueled heat escape; I’ll leave a box outside the door and invite children to provide a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) in which they’ll receive a treat from me in approximately four to six weeks. I could single-handedly resolve the mail delivery issue in Yukon.
Speaking of treats, we don’t need high fructose corn syrup flowing into the sanctity of our Northern land. I will give out only local bounty such as Labrador tea and dried mushrooms from the boreal forest; such delights for small children.
And finally, I will toil to save millions of kilojoules of nutritious pumpkin from ending up in the landfill. Instead of carving pumpkins, I’ll use a locally-sourced vegetable for my jack o’ lantern: the mighty Yukon carrot.
Be it resolved, the carrot will hereafter be known as the Pumpkin of the North.
Now let us pay our respects to all the unborn pies that were never made; oh angel pies, may you float on clouds of whipped cream held aloft by a chorus of zombies.