I cannot believe that today is November 2nd. Tadoussac is a very different place than it was even at the beginning of last week. This last week of October is the official “close every last thing” week, and now all boutiques, restos etc are closed. The hotel closed on the 1st and all that is left at the marina are two private boats that will need trailers to haul out, the docks which will be removed Nov 7th and the Coast Guard which usually stays until the first week of December. The bay looks very bare, and after the 8th will be downright empty. There are no more tourists and yesterday in the village you could have gone bowling and hit nary a soul!!
Of course, with the end of the season comes Hallowe’en so all is not lost. Tadoussac made a grand splash again this year and created the “Sentier du Horreur” in the Parc des Ancêtres. This is the park that starts half way up the hill as you walk to church. The entrance has lovely benches and you walk down into the gulley below via the stairs. It is a perfect place for this type of activity as it is a pretty spooky place! It runs along the brook, follows across the bridge behind the hotel, and then up and out of the park at the public washrooms on the boardwalk. At this time of year it is dark and creepy – absolutely perfect.
The planning group decided to do a walk for the school kids in the afternoon and then to repeat, with more horror, for any who dared to do it again in the evening – in the dark, with only torches for lighting.
It took the group – which included parents, the fire brigade, the municipality and some of the teachers almost 3 days to put it all together. The main thing was to make the walkways safe (day and night) and to ensure there was just enough lighting so no one would be hurt – but not so much that people weren’t scared to death. This is of course the main goal. The third morning we added in all the horror bits with creatures hanging from trees and large horrible monsters hiding in all nooks and crannies.
L’Auberge de Jeunesse held an afternoon of pumpkin carving and they created about 30 amazing pumpkins which lined the road from the Caisse up to the entrance. The one below was on the table where we greeted everyone and it is a good example of the intricate designs that many people created – wow.
All the kids from École St. Joseph came for the afternoon. This year they did not wear costumes because they had to walk down stairs and around creeks etc. – plus the wind was howling and it was bloody cold. They were so excited that they were jumping up and down. They were also nervous but it was all cool.
All the older grades went first – 3, 4, 5 and 6. They went in groups of 4 and some thought it was a good idea to have a teacher with them. Some were brave enough – at least at the beginning, to go it alone. Then it was the 1 and 2’s and finally the kindergarten kids. We make a distinct break between the bigger and the little children. I went with the last group of 4 boys of 1 & 2 and told each monster as we passed that it was the kindergarten next. The monsters wave at the littlest ones rather than scare them to death. But sometimes that is still very scary so 2 teachers go with that small group. It was a total success. You could hear the kids screaming all over town and they loved it. I went with a small group of boys, as I mentioned. One of the lads went the whole way going “Je n’ai pas peur! Je n’ai pas peur! ” (I’m not afraid) Methinks he doth protest too much!! By the end three of the 4 boys were clinging to me.
These are some of the creatures they encountered
There were also trolls, baby killers and a cemetery with a grave just the right size for kids!!
All was well in the end. Nadia Gagnon, the amazing teacher and leader for this event, had all the kids come together at the end of the path for two very good reasons. First she asked all the monsters to come meet them so the kids could see them without their masks. This way no one was going home to have nightmares and they could see that the monsters were their parents and neighbours pretending to be monsters. The second reason was to have the kids say thank you to all of the monsters and the helpers who had put the event together. Truly an amazing group of people.
While I wasn’t able to take pictures at night, I just want to tell you that the night time version was also a totally successful nightmare and I say that in the kindest way. The path which was scary during the day, was a real horror at night and the 282 people – yes you are reading that correctly – that went through were amazed. A large group of about 25 adults and older kids came from Les Bergeronnes and there were people from Forestville, Longue Rive, Sacré Coeur and of course lots from our own village. Not to be outdone – the screaming was even louder I have to say. It was a freezing cold night and many people stood for an hour in anticipation. Each person at night was charged a toonie to be scared out of their minds. All the money went to the school for much needed support for a small school that has so few resources. I just need to say that while they have few financial resources they have a dedicated group of teachers and parents that make this school a happening place.
I can’t wait to see what next year brings.
Hope you all had a great Hallowe’en too. Jane