Halloween 2022 at the McNeill’s

Written by Harold McNeill on November 9th, 2022. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


Lynn sketched this welcoming sign

October 31, 2022

Over the course of the afternoon and evening we received a hoard of kids and adults (estimated at 150-200), all in a variety of great costumes. To get to the treats, they had to travel through the yard to reach the front door where they were greeted by a “schoolmarm” who questioned them about “have you completed you homework?” to which she was given all manner of answers (mostly yes, as they knew that likely meant an immediate treat). For the younger ones, perhaps intimidated by the sights and sounds, mom or dad supplied a reassuring hand to the front door. It was fortunate we purchased all those extra treats as by 8:45 the well was dry.

This was “Year 1” of expanding the Halloween scene to the full front and side yard.  The whole family, including Jay and Jeff, Avery, Lynn, shared in creating many of the new caricatures and ghostly scenes.  For some supplies Jay and I made a couple of trips to the Salvation Army on Quadra where we collected costumes and masks as well as other miscellaneous articles used for the various scenes. At home we used straw to stuff the body costumes, with the pumpkin heads being attached to a small shoulder board before being attached to a support pole driven into the ground.

To hold the black pumpkin ghosts, we used the same method to attach the pumpkin head, then placed the head over an inverted wire garden trellis (we forced the three wires into the bottom of the pumpkin, then rolled down a heavy-duty black plastic garbage bag. The inverted trellis was pushed down over a large, inverted plastic plant pot (photo description in the album). For the white ghosts we attached a stiff wire circle to a shoulder board and secured the wire head with two screws. We then folded over white sheets (purchased from the Salvation Army).

We completed the night scene by placing red, white, and yellow bulbs of various sizes in and around the scenes.  This gave the entire yard an eerie feel when accompanied by Halloween music found on YouTube and played moderately loud on the external trailer speakers.

As you might guess from the scenes, over the summer and fall, the front yard was transformed into a summer camp spot for family and guests, complete with trailer, gas campfire and BBQ, swings, swing ropes, sandbox (the Pirate Ship), a well as a tree house and lookout tower attached to a 30-foot slack line.

We rather expect this will become an annual practice back by popular demand.

Link Here to Facebook Photo Album

Cheers,

The McNeill’s

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Comments

  • Harold McNeill

    February 28, 2022 |

    Hi Robert, I do remember some of those folks from my early years in Cold Lake (Hazel was my aunt and our family spent many fond times with Uncle Melvin, Aunt Hazel and Family. I knew Lawrence and Adrian. Having read a half dozen accounts it is clear their were many false narratives and, perhaps, a few truths along the way. I tried my best to provide an even account from what I read. Cheers, Harold. (email: Harold@mcneillifestories.com)

  • Robert Martineau

    February 25, 2022 |

    Its been a long time since any post here, but its worth a shot. My Grandfather was Hazel Wheelers brother Lawrence, and son to Maggie and Adrien. Maggie Martineau (nee Delaney) is my great grandmother. The books and articles to date are based on the white mans viewpoint and the real story as passed down by the Elders in my family is much more nefarious. Some of the white men were providing food for the Indians in exchange for sexual favors performed by the Squaws. Maggie was the product of one of those encounters. Although I am extremely proud of my family and family name, I am ashamed about this part of it.

  • Julue

    January 28, 2022 |

    Good morning Harold!
    Gosh darn it, you are such a good writer. I hope you have been writing a book about your life. It could be turned into a movie.
    Thanks for this edition to your blog.
    I pray that Canadians will keep their cool this weekend and next week in Ottawa. How do you see our PM handling it? He has to do something and quick!
    Xo Julie

  • Herb Craig

    December 14, 2021 |

    As always awesome job Harold. It seems whatever you do in life the end result is always the same professional, accurate, inclusive and entertaining. You have always been a class act and a great fellow policeman to work with. We had some awesome times together my friend. I will always hold you close as a true friend. Keep up the good work. Hope to see you this summer.
    Warm regards
    Herb Craig

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Hi Dorthy, So glad you found those stories and, yes, they hold many fond memories. Thanks to social media and the blog, I’ve been able to get in touch with many friends from back in the day. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Well, well. Pleased to see your name pop up. I’m in regular contact via FB with many ‘kids’ from back in our HS days (Guy, Dawna, Shirley and others). Also, a lot of Cold Lake friends through FB. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Oh, that is many years back and glad you found the story. I don’t have any recall of others in my class other than the Murphy sisters on whose farm my Dad and Mom worked.

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Pleased to hear from you Howie and trust all is going well. As with you, I have a couple of sad stories of times in my police career when I crossed paths with Ross Barrington Elworthy. Just haven’t had the time to write those stories.

  • Howie Siegel

    November 25, 2021 |

    My only fight at Pagliacci’s was a late Sunday night in 1980 (?) He ripped the towel machine off the bathroom wall which brought me running. He came after me, I grabbed a chair and cracked him on the head which split his skull and dropped him. I worried about the police finding him on the floor. I had just arrived from Lasqueti Island and wasn’t convinced the police were my friends. I dragged him out to Broad and Fort and left him on the sidewalk, called the cops. They picked him up and he never saw freedom again (as far as I know). I found out it was Ross Elworthy.

  • Herbert Plain

    November 24, 2021 |

    Just read you article on Pibroch excellent. My Dad was Searle Grain company agent we move there in 1942/3 live in town by the hall for 5 years than moved one mile east to the farm on the corner where the Pibroch road meets Hwy 44. Brother Don still lives there. I went to school with you and Louise.