Happy Halloween Everybody...

This guy was one hard-to-find item on Halloween Night...
SOMETHING that Americans like myself take for granted all the time is the ubiquity of consumption. In the United States you can buy almost anything, almost anywhere, at almost any time of day. You need a zebra costume for the school play tomorrow? No problem. You want to buy an aquarium built into a Ms. Pac-Man console? That's easy. Do you need an AMC Eagle station wagon equipped with a flamethrower? I guarantee you you can find that for sale in the USA. And not just in Montana, either.
So one of the rules I learned in Montreal last year was that, if you see something that looks useful in a store but isn't quite in season, buy it anyway. There's a good chance it won't be there anymore the next time around. I learned that last year with Christmas trees. This year, the week before Halloween, that lesson kept ringing in my ears as I bounced all over my neighbourhood in search of a pumpkin. Today, after my run, I made a deliberate effort walking down Mont-Royal to find a pumpkin to carve. No dice at the chain supermarkets -- including the huge Provigo at the corner of St-Urbain. The market at the Mont-Royal Metro stop wasn't open that day. I had already checked the produce markets near my apartment with no luck...
In the window of a small map shop I noticed a beautifully formed round pumpkin. I could tell it was real, and it was the perfect size. I stopped and peered in the store. No one there but a kind-looking older woman. I love gawking at maps anyway. What the hell could it hurt?
Having spent a fair bit of time in Latin America, I've learned that quite a few things are negotiable. Even things that aren't supposed to be negotiable. It often depends largely on the attitude of the participants. And so I put as much candlepower as I could into my smile and asked the shopkeeper, "Je voudrais acheter la citrouille que vous avez dans la fenĂȘtre..." 
She didn't know she had a pumpkin in her window, and after I showed it to her, she asked me if I could donate money to a youth cause that had a changebox in the store. I said that I could definitely do that, but I only had my debit card on me. 
We hadn't agreed on a price, and I suggested 10 piastres, which struck her as high, but after all, I noted, it was for the children. She could ring that up on my card, and then put 10 loonies in the box for the kids, and I'd get the pumpkin I had been looking for the past week. 
Walking down the block with an enormous grin and a fat orange pumpkin in my sweats, I could see I wasn't the only one who didn't have jack. People kept stopping me on the street asking where I got my big round gourde. I don't think I was ever more careful walking down the street than I was walking home today. And I carved it up (albeit with one false tooth this year), put  a candle inside and put it outside the door. 
We didn't get any trick-or-treaters last year. We probably won't get one this year. But thanks to a kind woman in a map store (and an apparently deserving charity), I still have a beauty of a jack-o-lantern outside my door. 

Happy Halloween Everybody