Chipman — Edith Daigle is busy making preparations for what she anticipates, sadly, will be yet another in a long tradition of difficult Halloweens. She expects a barrage of eggs, toilet paper, spray paint and flaming bags of undetermined contents to be strewn about her property, taking upwards of 2 weeks for Mrs. Daigle, 70, and her husband Mervin, 82, to clean up.
Every year, the Daigles spend the greater part of the week leading up to Halloween preparing their candied fiddleheads. The process to create these treats is long and painstaking, requiring much of the retired couple’s time. The result is a brownish-green, bite-sized spiral that is crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside.
“We’ve been giving out these treats for as long as I can remember and I don’t want to give up this family tradition,” said Mrs. Daigle as she stirred a bubbling stock pot. “People these days don’t care about the past, they just want to play with their cellphones and their Nintendos. I think it’s important for people to learn about how things used to be.”
Over the years, the Daigles have tried numerous methods to educate their family and neighbours about their fiddleheads and make their home more inviting (the number of Halloween-themed ornaments in their entryway has increased substantially), but feel these efforts have made little impact. They have even gone so far as to provide a mandatory 15-minute explanation about the treats and the history of fiddleheading in New Brunswick to any children and adults who come to the door.
Despite the effort, the response from the trick-or-treaters has not been positive. While many of the candied fiddleheads are simply discarded on the doorstep or in the Daigles’ driveway, there has been an increasing number of people returning later to express their displeasure through vandalism.
One of the Daigles’ neighbours, who requested that they remain anonymous (we declined, her name is Linda Steeves) thinks that this problem has a simple solution.
“I don’t know why they don’t just give out regular treats,” said Ms. Steeves from her home 3 doors down from the Daigles’ (182 Lilloett Dr.). “We don’t live in a very big community; I usually just go down to the Walmart and buy some candy. I only spend 10 bucks and my kids can eat half of it before Halloween.”
When asked about the RCMP response to Halloween-related vandalism in the area, Const. Reg Vallancourt from the local RCMP detachment was unable to offer a solution.
“We do our best to try and make sure we’re protecting our communities from this type of thing, but there is only so much we can do,” said Vallancourt. “I grew up in the area and I remember that house. One year, they put fiddleheads in used chocolate-bar wrappers and sealed them back up — that’s just asking for it.”
Despite the expected neighbourhood backlash and many other setbacks, the Daigles say they will continue to persevere and hope that, one day, they will finally have an enjoyable Halloween.