November 3, 2009
Bridle Path Halloween: The horror!
Reprinted from The Toronto Star
November 01, 2009
Bridal Path is a bougie hood in Toronto - RY Eds.
And thanks for nothing. Which is just about what two of my nearest and dearest DiMannos got door-to-door last night – one measly chocolate mint wafer, handed over by an apologetic maid: "Sorry but you're the first trick-or-treaters we've ever had here."
Or, as my nephew put it succinctly: "This sucks."
Chimed in my niece: "The worst Halloween ever."
Yes, we'd just entered the Twilight Zone of ... The Bridle Path.
It was with trepidation that we approached the Monster Houses: Gothic, Tudor and Greco-Roman piles of brick.
Here, behind wrought-iron gates, are the ghouls of high finance, the fiends of power, the boogiemen of Canada's upper-uppest establishment; a coven of the moneyed, privileged, butlered and Brazilian-balled.
On this most sacred, if pagan, holiday on a child's calendar, the hoi-polloi DiMannos, junior edition – Master Joshua and Mistress Juliet, aged 11 and 10 – ventured across class boundaries as trick `n' treat supplicants at some of Toronto's toniest addresses.
Haunted, as it turns out, either inhabited only by domestic staff – is everybody Palm Springing it? – or in-situ residents peering suspiciously from behind the drapes, but definitely not answering the bell.
A short cut to bonbon lucre, some too-clever-by-half Star editor had enthused, cackling, an Invasion of the Sugar Snatchers upon the enclave of the A-list swank, the palazzos of the swank, on the one night when upstarts wouldn't be directed to the delivery entrance.
These may be perilous times for titans of industry and Bay Street boffos, portfolios plundered by economic upheaval.
But surely the money-bag brigade wouldn't skimp on Halloween largesse, pull down the blinds, turn off the lights and make like nobody's home.
Indeed they did, even at manors all dressed up for the occasion, with pumpkins on the hearth and scarecrows affixed to the front facades, Halloween chic à la House & Garden.
"Trick or treat," the kids chirped into driveway speaker-phones, on the rare occasions they received a response.
Then click and silence. On one occasion, a burst of laughter and: "Nobody home."
Boldly we trespassed on estates where the gates were open, right up to front doors with oversized knockers and organ-pipe ding-dong bells, loot bags dangling from outstretched arms: Candy alms for the kids!
On this particular evening of shenanigans, the little DiMannos were resurrected as She-Devil and Emperor of Evil – not to be confused with sca-a-a-ry couple Barbara Amiel and Baron Black.
Of course, he's not home, temporarily dungeoned in a U.S. penitentiary, self-proclaimed victim of an eat-the-rich hysteria south of the border.
But the serial bride chatelaine appears not to be in residence either, their mansion on Park Lane Circle spookily shuttered, only a dog snarling on the grounds. Moving along to High Point, houses deeply recessed from the street, protected by topiary and statuary – Edward Scissorhands landscaping – we search vainly for a joint that looks remotely inviting. "Ooh," whispers Juliet, pointing at a ridiculously ornate construct of columns and pillars. "Is that the White House?"
"Forget it," says Joshua. "See, there's a camera in the bushes. They know we're here, but they're just pretending not to be home." He pulls a face at the little red light.
One wonders, where do the children of the wealthy – the little trust funds – go to trick and treat? Not around here apparently, not a costumed kid to be seen on these winding roads.
Maybe they go to Parkdale and Cabbagetown, dressed as the working poor.
Nobody here but pikers and meanies, folks who'd begrudge a youngster a licorice swirl or a pack of M & Ms – which is maybe how they got so filthy loaded in the first place.
After 90 minutes of trudging through some of the country's poshest real estate, empty bags in hand, we give up.
"Let's go back to Toronto," says Juliet. "Maybe the real people haven't run out of candy yet."
Joshua: "We should never have come here. Worst. Halloween. Ever."
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