How to dress for Halloween—from Steinbach to Singapore, Vanderhoof to Vancouver

👤Charlynn Toews 🕔Oct 09, 2015

Growing up in Steinbach, Manitoba in the 1960s, kids embraced Halloween with  gusto, but parents did not make a big deal of it. No one had elaborate homemade costumes or even thought a person might rent one. The most popular outfit was Classic Hobo: throw on some tattered clothes, a pork-pie hat, and the stick could hold the candy bag.

I always wanted a Regal Princess get-up, but since my planning only started after school on the day of, the results were less than I had imagined. Didn’t really matter though, because my mom always insisted I wear a parka over it. Looking up the historical average temperature for my hometown on that Parka Princess day, I see it ranged from +5 to -5 Celsius. Freezing!

I joined my husband on a business trip to Singapore last fall and experienced a tropical Halloween. Everyone thronged the streets along the river where giant gaspers cooled the air. On airplanes, the cool-air gaspers are about an inch across, one per seat. The Singaporean cool-air gaspers are a foot across and aligned in three by three patterns in open-air markets and town squares.

The most popular costume: flashing-light horns to wear on your head. With their average temperatures of 23 to 31 C, no one is going to dress up as Chewbacca.

A furry Bigfoot costume might be appreciated in Vanderhoof, where the record daily low for October 31—a bone-crushing minus 28 C—was achieved in 1984. That same day, snow began to fall in Campbell River and Comox, much to the surprise of trick-or-treaters there. By the early morning hours the next day, 30 to 50 cm of heavy wet snow had fallen on portions of Vancouver Island. But to the dismay of kids across the school district, classes were still in session.

In Smithers, Helly Hansen Catalogue Model might be a good costume idea, as precipitation is highly likely around October 31, occurring on 70 percent of days. Same deal for Terrace and Kitimat: there is a 79 percent chance that precipitation will be observed at some point during that day or night. One of the most successful costumes for my kid was a Robot, where he was covered head to toe in rain-resistant aluminum. Less so was the Mummy, where the strips of torn white sheet wrapped around his limbs and torso slowly decayed over the evening into soaking wet and trailing shreds of cotton.

Prince Rupert has a maritime climate with mild summers and no dry season. Throughout October, the most common forms of precipitation there are light rain, moderate rain and heavy rain. No wonder they moved the party indoors a long time ago —October 2014 marked the 27th annual Community Halloween Fest in the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.  Now, there’s a nice setting for parka-less Princess!

With only nine hours and 27 minutes of daylight on Halloween, Prince George trick-or-treaters might add those flashing horns to a warm toque. Light snow is likely to start falling around this date.

In Vancouver on October 31, it’s going to be warm (7 to 10 C), humid, or very humid and wet. Head indoors to dozens of potential parties—Salsalloween (“Biggest Salsa Party”), Ghost Ship Boat Cruise, or Halloween at the Waterfront. There’s also the Shangri-la Halloween Masquerade Ball with “mandatory formal sexy attire.” Hmm, no Regal Princess possibility there, either. Thwarted once more, I’ll stay in again this year.



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