Since 2007, when I moved from Churchill back to Winnipeg, I have attended Boo at the zoo with my best friend Debb and her grandson Matt. Halloween is my favourite holiday and Boo has become part of my celebratory traditions for the season.
This year our friend Verna and her son and grandchildren were going to join us. I also made plans to go a second time with my friends Karen and Rick and their son Michael. I was filled with anticipatory excitement. What could be better than going to Boo during the build up to Halloween? I assumed going twice.
It came to be Oct 22 and time to get ready for the first Boo excursion. Unexpectedly, I could not find my Halloween stuff. In my last apartment, I had kept all my costume, makeup and decorations in my mom’s old cedar chest. I made the effort to move a small cupboard that was on top of the cedar chest and when I opened it, no Halloween gear. I had forgotten that when we moved to our town house in the summer, I packed the Halloween stuff in a box for moving and had put winter clothes in the cedar chest. What next, I wondered? I checked a few totes in the storage room and looked at labels on some of the 20 or so boxes we have yet to unpack. Nothing that had in it or was labeled Halloween. I know the box is somewhere under stuff in the storage room or my office, but I had run out of time to look for it.
I headed out, camera in tow, ready to enjoy the event, despite being dressed in everyday clothes. I wore my ski jacket because they had predicted some light rain. Nothing we had not had at Boo before. It has even added to the atmosphere in past years. As I was driving from my home to the zoo, it started to fork lighting. I got to the south gate parking lot and it had lots of space, parked and went to meet Debb, Verna and their families. There was by this time a lot of thunder and lightning. The kidletts all had their costumes on and looked spooktaculair. We went in and started to trek the new route.
Everything is different this year because of zoo redevelopment. The whole event had moved to a different part of the zoo.
Soon it came, the rain that is. First, it was spitting and then actually raining and by the time we were less than half way through it started to pour. The rain came down in sheets soaking us completely. We managed to make it a marquee tent that was set up people to rest with their children. Access to the zoo restaurant, Animal Tracks, was blocked because of the zoo redevelopment. We waited in the tent for about 15 minutes and the worst of the storm to pass. My pants were stuck to me legs and I was a shivering and a shaking all over. As the rain eased off to a drizzle we headed to the midway. The kids of course wanted to go on the rides and in the fun house and scary house.
I watched while they went on the carousal and by the time they finished that first ride, I was finished. I made my apologies to Debb and explained I was too wet and cold to stay any longer. Sadly, I got in my car, turned up the heat full blast and drove home with Fab 94.3 blaring on the radio. I was sad.
Oct 29 rolled around and again I was filled with anticipatory excitement. I still had not found my box of Halloween stuff, so again I had no costume. I refused to let that dampen my spook spirit. I was meeting my group of friends at the gate and I had the tickets. I got there around 6:15 pm as were to meet at the gates when they opened at 6:30. I drove around both south gate parking lots and could not find one empty parking space. Now what? It was almost 6:30. I had never seen so many people for Boo. I decided to try the Zoo main gate parking lot, thinking that would the closest place I could park. That lot was only half full, so at least I got the car parked. I started to trek back to the south gate. It was a long way, it took me almost 15 minutes. So now I am 15 minutes late to meet my friends, one of whom is in a wheel chair. Not a great start to the evening.
I managed to find them in a couple of minutes and luckily they had only just gotten their handivan parked and gotten everybody organized on the ground. We entered Boo and we were litterly like salmon going up stream in the spring to spawn. It was so so crowded. I would guess there might have been 5,000 people there. Too many to enjoy the event. You couldn’t get near displays to look at them and who knew who could be so oblivious and ignorant to a person with advanced ALS in a wheelchair. I was not impressed. At least the child we had with us had a good time and it didn’t rain until the end and that was only light drizzle.
Note to myself: buy a ticket at the gate next year so I am not forced to go on a night with pouring rain and don’t wait until the last Saturday night to go when it is too busy to enjoy.
Moving on, time to start thinking about Christmas.
From My First Boo at the Zoo Oct 27, 2007
it was a dark and stormy night
and Boo in the zoo was such a fright
the did blow and the rain did fall
there were scary creatures
both big and small
spiders and bugs made of light
danced round the bears with delight
while very spooky music filled the air
we knew it was going to be a different fair
Treebeard told us “let’s not be hasty”
while heads poked out of the ground, goulishly pasty
occasional moonlight peered through clouds eerie and pale
anytime we expected to hear a black riders heart piercing wale
go round and round on a carousal steed
Nemo will take you way down under the sea
ride a helicopter and a police officer pretend to be
ghosts and goblins, tombstones galore
Dracula, Frankestein’s monster, his wife and more
the headless horseman alight with a spectral sheen
Bluebeard’s wraith, the big bad wolf and evil queen
never was a Halloween party so much fun
Debb, Matt and myself were trying not to run