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Kawhi Life: What to do on Halloween in Toronto

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Kawhi and the Raptors have been scary on the court so far this season. Now it’s time to reflect on what to get up to for the actual scariest day of the year.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Toronto Raptors Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Kawhi Leonard is a Toronto Raptor — for at least one year. While the team’s on-court success has its part to play, we’ve decided to do our part in selling the city to the Klaw. Each week we’re talking Toronto, and letting Kawhi know what his life could be like here.

This Week in Toronto

For some, Halloween is a big deal. Depending on where you are in life age-wise, its significance does tend to wax and wane though. When you’re a kid, there’s a lot to like about Halloween — as Jerry Seinfeld used to opine, it’s an unbelievable turn of events (“Everyone we know is just giving out candy?”). Later, when you’re a teen, its appeal starts to melt away. You’re too old to straight up trick-or-treat, but too young to hit up any of the fun (licensed) parties. There’s mischief to be had, I suppose, but in truth: I don’t support that.

From my vantage point in (young?) adulthood, I can say Halloween is now a fun little evening. I’m not some nut about it, but I can enjoy it for what it’s become to me. The last few years have been filled with some, if I may say, downright good costumes and parties in locales across the city. Toronto does offer up quite a mix of jams — dance parties, block parties, costume (karaoke?) parties, and everything in between. If you’re something of a family man (like, say, Kawhi Leonard), there’s even the fun-for-all-ages (sort of) vibe of Canada’s Wonderland’s Halloween Haunt. (It’s not my cup of tea, but if Kawhi can stomach the commute, why not?)

I admit, I’ve not much thought of a costume this year, but that won’t exactly stop me from getting in the spirit of the season. Over at the Royal Cinema on College Street, there’sl be a screening of Andrzej Zulawski’s Possession, a not un-scary film I’ve never see before. That’s where I plan to be. Or, if you want your zombie fix, the TIFF Lightbox is showing Dan O’Bannon’s The Return of the Living Dead, an underrated classic. (For context: O’Bannon is the guy who wrote the first Alien film.) In Toronto, there is always the film option, if you’re not up to party.

When thinking on Halloween festivities, I can’t help but remember the time about 12-13 years ago when I fully got back into the (haunted) spirit. By then I’d lost touch with any reason to enjoy the evening, yet suddenly there I was with a month of lead time trying to assemble a good costume for a night out. It remains my best ensemble to date: the full Rorschach (of Watchmen fame), complete with painted white-and-black mask, trench coat, and hat. This was before the film had come out, so not everyone got it at the time, but the effort was worth it all the same. Since then, I’ve gone with a 70’s cop (a la Beastie Boys’ Sabotage video) complete with real handlebar moustache, Steve Zissou of The Life Aquatic, evil computer HAL 9000, and more.

Rather comically, the events of that particular Halloween night all those years ago ended up being completely unstructured. The lineup at one club was too long, so my friends and I (dressed additionally as Wario, Green Lantern, and, uh, a doctor) hit the streets and just wandered around at random. (We eventually ended up at the Hideout, at its original Queen West location.) Everywhere we went were people in costume, celebrating in their way, and having a good time — even on the night bus back home, packed as it was with a Star Wars stormtrooper at the door telling people to “move along.”

Yes, there are a lot of ways to do Halloween right in Toronto. This Wednesday night isn’t perhaps exactly the best night to go completely wild, but that shouldn’t stop us all from getting up to something. Have fun, and take care out there.

Should Kawhi Care?

Well, no.

(Though Kawhi Leonard clearly cares somewhat about the rituals of Halloween. The photo evidence below tells no lies:

That’s Leonard with former teammates Nando De Colo, Marco Belinelli (both former Raptors!), and the legend Manu Ginobili, all at their costumed best. Please note that Kawhi went with a Popeye costume for Halloween, which is reflective of his somewhat quiet demeanour (Popeye doesn’t go looking for a fight) and his ability to seemingly supercharge his body beyond normal proportions (Popeye definitely ends a fight). Does this all mean we could see Kawhi out on the streets of Toronto next Wednesday dressed as, say, the Incredible Hulk? Thematically, I say it would be consistent — and also something fun to do.)