“Wow. Did you see that guy?” one parent asked another, as they and their children moved as a raucous pack along a heavily decorated residential street in Toronto, midway through filling their bags with the candy that spills out of houses on this annual wave of unspecific generosity. “He went full-on with that homeless man outfit. All those layers of clothes, and the shopping cart full of other people’s discards? Genius. And where do you even find shoes that worn? He must have hit them with an angle grinder or something. Impressive commitment to the theme.”
Gerard Dufore, a resident of mostly central Toronto – sometimes a little to the west, sometimes a little to the east – says its the same every year.
“Yeah, come the end of October, for a day or two everyone thinks I’ve just gone whole hog on the hobo costume. When really this is just what you look like when you’ve slipped through the cracks of a society increasingly focussed on Instagrammable excess, rather than social responsibility.”
“Trick-or-treat-a-guy-to-a-hot-meal?” said the presumably-young-once Mr. Dufore, as he stepped into the light of an open front door on the Eve of All Hallows’ Day. “No, thank you, I’m all set for rockets and miniature Mars bars. But while your door’s open, have you got anything in the way of a stew?”
At the next address a homeowner asks Dufore what he’s supposed to be.
“A homeless guy.”
“Well aren’t you just adorable. How old are you young man? I can’t tell with all that make-up you’re wearing.”
“I think I’m close to 60,” Gerard says, before adding that it’s a long story.
“Oh too funny. Well, take your pick, we’ve got peanut-butter cups, bags of chips, and Kit Kats. Grab a handful. There were some Popeye cigarettes in there somewhere earlier, but they might be gone now. You aren’t the first kid dressed as a homeless guy that we’ve had tonight. Uh, no, sorry, no socks. No, cans either. Jeez kid, you’re starting to make this a little awkward.”