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Flashback: Leashed cats, giant pretzels and a legend of horror

Our Flasbhack newsletter looks back at another Halloween that ended up going through some adjustments, as well as what horror legend Vincent Price did each Oct. 31.

Halloween has faced adjustments before, way before a pandemic made us think about our Oct. 31 plans

Halloween was observed on Oct. 30 or Oct. 31, 1982 — depending on what city you were in. (CBC Archives/The National)

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An adjusted Halloween

Halloween, like so many things in 2020, might look a little different this year

It was also a little different in 1982, as a result of a daylight time-related inconvenience that made Saskatoon, Toronto and Halifax change the date for trick-or-treating from Oct. 31 to Oct. 30. 

The hot costumes this year? "Frontline workers ... doctors, nurses, police ... a lot of zombies and plague doctors," a retailer in B.C. told CBC last week.  

So, not a lot of Gremlins, Ghostbusters or Mr. T costumes, by the sounds of it.

Not boos, but hisses

Cats on leashes? It was being put forward as a proposal in Wolfville, N.S., in the fall of 1992. (1st Edition/CBC Archives)

Wolfville, N.S,. wanted to address the problem of cats roaming free in 1992. One proposal? That dogs and cats alike be leashed when off their owners' property. 

A local resident was willing to demonstrate the challenge of placing a harness and leash on her cat, even if the cat itself was less amenable. Another local said leashing one's cat seemed "ridiculous." 

Equally ridiculous was the 1987 story of a giant 35-pound cat named Fluffy — a story that CBC's Midday somehow stretched into a seven-minute segment. 

Unleashing the kids

This 1991 image shows a girl picking potatoes in a field near Florenceville, N.B., during the local potato break that year. (Midday/CBC Archives)

The work began before the sun came up and that was fine. It's not as if the kids picking potatoes were going to school.

No, they had a "potato break" each fall, so they could step out of the classroom and into potato fields in New Brunswick.

But by 1991, just a few parts of the province were keeping up that tradition — a shift that caught the eye of CBC's Midday that fall.

Shopping by TV in '85...

Shopping by television

Digital Archives

35 years agoVideo
2:58
Together, the TV and telephone promised to make malls obsolete if a London, Ont. company's innovation was a success. 2:58

A touch-tone phone and a TV were all you needed to skip the mall, using a system developed by London, Ont.,'s Cableshare, in partnership with U.S. retail giant J.C. Penney.

... and by internet in '96

Grocery shopping was changing in the age of the intenet. (The National/CBC Archives)

The IGA chain in Quebec was the first in North America to offer groceries by internet, as the CBC's Mark Kelley reported in 1996. The downside: no smelling the produce.

Photobombing a future PM

Onkel Hans, the mascot of the Oktoberfest celebrations in Kitchener, Ont., is seen standing behind Brian Mulroney on Oct. 15, 1983, during the Conservative leader's visit to the annual festival. (The National/CBC Archives)

Beer, giant pretzels and a mascot named Onkel Hans are all part of the Oktoberfest experience, as Brian Mulroney discovered when visiting the famed Kitchener, Ont., festival in 1983.

No trick, just a treat

Vincent Price's Halloween plans

Digital Archives

1 year agoVideo
1:09
In 1963, CBC News asked Vincent Price about what he liked to do for Halloween. 1:09

Imagine going trick-or-treating and meeting Vincent Price at the door. It was possible, as the horror legend told CBC in 1963 that he handed out candy on Halloween. Nothing scary about that.

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