Joyeaux Halloween!

In a recent e-mail, a friend asked us whether they celebrate Halloween up here. As we drove through Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Quebec, we were overwhelmed with the evidence that they do. Some towns sponsor interesting competitions, like the artistic scarecrows in Mahone Bay (we photographed dozens of them).

In Kentville, we drove for miles enjoying displays of “pumpkin-head people.” The theme of this year’s competition was “sports,” and around every bend we found football, soccer, and basketball teams, pumpkin-head skiiers, archers, badminton-players, and weightlifters. I think our favorite was the pumpkin-head scuba diver!

But aside from these organized events, there are hundreds of decorated houses, with witches, ghosts, and spiders. Some people go crazy, filling their yards with tombstones or their porches with spiderwebs. Inflated pumpkins and Frankensteins are all the rage. Depending on which part of Canada you are in, the banners read either “Happy” or “Joyeaux” Halloween.

In Lunenburg, evidently, setting prank fires used to be the favorite activity on Halloween. The fire departments stayed busy, but nothing really dreadful happened, until about ten years ago. Then they burned down St. John’s Anglican church — the second oldest church in all of Canada. Now October is “fire prevention month,” and they take the pranks a lot more seriously. It’s rumored that you can be arrested for lighting a match on Halloween!

Here are some of our favorite Halloween decorations. Enjoy, and don’t let the ghoulies get you!


Laid-back decorations in Montreal…

Dangling pumpkins in Quebec…

The dance of the eight veils…

Lifelike scarecrows…

Harry Potter and friends…

Outrageous yard display…

Dinghy scarecrows!

“Whosoever pulls the sword from this pumpkin shall be the true king of Mahone Bay.”

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