COMMENTARY: Stranger treats on Digby Neck

Digby Neck, N.S. is a weird place.  

The Bay of Fundy and St. Mary’s Bay almost cuts Digby Neck from mainland Nova Scotia. The Neck ranges from the end of Brier Island and stops before the town of Digby. Most who live on Digby Neck are fishermen.

There’s a man who drives around the village with his dog Molly and pet deer Buttons year-round in the back of his van. Sometimes he lets kids feed Buttons his favourite food, liquorice.  

Around Halloween, the Neck gets stranger. 

I never knew what I’d find when my sister and I went trick-or-treating. Sometimes we’d hit a goldmine and score homemade peanut butter fudge. A few older ladies enjoyed baking sweets instead of buying candy, though Mum would only let us eat the baked goods from people she knew. Other houses were a dud and we’d end up with a candy apple which melted halfway through the night.

I remember when a family from England moved to the Neck and we wondered what kind of candy or chocolates they’d give out. Turns out, they weren’t prepared for Halloween but they never turned us away empty-handed. I’m not sure if they didn’t celebrate Halloween in England or they were just ill-prepared, but the father gave us anything he was snacking on, whether it was a handful of popcorn or chocolate-covered raisins. The year he gave us the raisins was the last time we knocked on their door. 

We had better luck with the house across the street. One year someone’s grandmother gave us a large bottle of Gatorade and a box of Girl Guide cookies she bought from her granddaughter.

Down the road, another lady passed out homemade cookies to go with her CD collection of Christian children stories. She bought them for the occasion, but I don’t know anyone who listened to them. By the time we returned home, I was too invested in sorting out the best chocolate bars and chips to listen to an audiobook. But at least she made good cookies. 

One old man didn’t bother with edible treats. My sister went trick-or-treating in Sandy Cove with one of her friends and came home with a roll of quarters, which she used to buy discount Halloween chocolate and candies at Walmart the next day. 

Sometimes I miss trick-or-treating down the Neck. 

I miss getting lost in the woods with my friends who tried to find a short cut to the next house. I miss visiting the pop man, who’d scoop a counter full of candy into my treat bag along with a can of pop. I miss going to my grandparents’ house, who’d hide the king-sized chocolate bars until my sister and I knocked on their door.  

Yes, Digby Neck’s a strange place, but it’s my home.

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