A nightmare on CFL street: what each team is handing out this Halloween

Photo: 3DownNation

It’s finally here: the night when you dress up in your favourite costume and head into the streets to collect some free candy.

The neighbours will ask what you’re dressed as, and then stare in bewilderment when you tell them you are a “dribble-kick onside punt recovery.”

Your night is going well when you turn the corner and realize you’ve stumbled upon a street you’ve never seen before. You wonder where this street could have come from. You’ve seen no construction vehicles or heard the associated noise that would have bothered the neighbourhood while this cul-de-sac was created.

Relying on the magic of Halloween and noticing that most of the houses have porch lights with different fanciful colours illuminated, you throw caution to the wind and decide you will see what this newly appeared street has to offer.

You warily approach the first house, which features cool grey lights with red accents. You ring the doorbell and call out “Trick or treat!” at the top of your lungs.

The door opens to reveal CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie. It takes you a moment to place him given how infrequently he makes appearances these days, but he happily exclaims, “Welcome to Halloween 2.0!” He hands you some Maynard’s candy and a bag of ketchup chips. This house is very Canadian, indeed.

“What does Halloween 2.0 mean?” you ask confusedly. Randy simply smiles and closes the door.

Off to a good start, you approach the next house, which features bright blue and gold lights. You call out from the front porch and Mike O’Shea answers the door.

“Here you go, kid,” the Blue Bombers’ coach grumbles while handing you a candy apple. “It’s old-fashioned, but it’s good. You’ll like it.”

Not willing to argue with the intimidating figure, you head to the next house careful to avoid stepping on the grass.

The next house is lit in various shades of blue. Ryan Dinwiddie comes to the door and hands you a pack of Dentyne Ice chewing gum.

“It matches his blue eyes,” your mom says from the sidewalk. Was she there a moment ago? You turn to Dinwiddie, then back to the street. She’s gone.

The next house is lit up in green and gold. Chris Jones answers and gives you a handful of candy corn. You thank him out of politeness, knowing they’ll likely be thrown out in a few months, uneaten.

As you turn to leave, you feel a tap on your shoulder. Jones asks you to wait a minute as he runs to his Ford motorcycle. In the saddlebag, he finds a pack of Skittles and hands it to you. You leave the house wondering why Jones didn’t go to his Ford earlier while wasting time with underwhelming corn.

Smiling with the Skittles weighing down your bag, you make your way up the walkway to a house lit with red and black.

When Bob Dyce answers the door, he seems flustered and hands you a can of chicken noodle soup.

“Sorry,” he says sheepishly. “I thought I might have to move, so I didn’t bother buying any candy.”

You walk away disappointed, but happy to have seen him keep his place. You hope that next year, he’ll be better prepared.

The next house is the biggest on the block, though it seems ominous. The lights are out but you approach it anyway, feeling it might offer something great. You ring the bell but no one answers. As you turn to leave, you notice a small sign.

“We know candy was expected tonight, and we promise it should be available soon,” it reads. “Getting candy was more difficult than we thought it would be. Try checking back next week and maybe there will be candy then.”

As you reach the street, you notice the words “Genius Sports” are written on the mailbox.

Red and white lights adorn the porch of the next home and Dave Dickenson opens the door with a strained smile. He hands you a package of Cinnamon flavoured Dentyne and a pamphlet for Stampeders season tickets.

“I used to be the only house on the block that gave out gum, but Toronto had to go and take my idea,” he says sadly, seemingly to himself. “Now everyone gives them all the credit.”

The next house is heavily adorned with green and white lights and decorations. You’re about to ring the doorbell when you notice an empty bowl on the porch accompanied by a sign reading, “Only take one.” You realize that, despite the glitz and glamour, this house is currently vacant.

The next house is lit in black and gold and beckons in a way that lets you know something good awaits.

A beaming Orlando Steinauer answers the bell. He starts unloading full-size chocolate bars into your sack of goodies.

“The owner said I should just go out and get everything a few months ago, no matter the cost,” he says. “Some of this may be past the expiration date, but it should last until the end of November!”

By now, your bag is getting pretty heavy. You start to wonder how much longer you’ll be able to manage it as you pass a vacant lot on the east side of the cul-de-sac. It looks like the foundation for a future house has been poured, though there’s been little progress on construction over the past 40 years.

You decide to hit the last few houses before you reach the main road, stopping at one with red and blue porch lights.

Jason Maas answers the door while nose-deep in the back pages of the CFL rulebook.

“Uh, here,” he says without looking up. He hands you a variety of lemon-flavoured treats. “These are good, don’t sleep on them.”

Still immersed in his book, he goes back inside.

Finally, you reach the house with orange and black lights. Rick Campbell is waiting on the porch with a case of no-name orange-flavoured pop.

“Help yourself,” he says, laid back as always. “I had the name-brand stuff last year. It was great, but it turns out this stuff is just as good.”

You put a can into your bag, glad the block has come to a close. As you reach the main street, Doug Flutie approaches you slowly.

“Once you leave, you can’t come back,” he says wistfully.

With your sack full of goodies and your purpose fulfilled, you glance back at the cul-de-sac. Without knowing why, you feel overwhelmed in the confidence that you will be able to return to this place year after year. When you turn back to Flutie, he has disappeared and you head towards the real world.

Happy Halloween.

Ryan Ballantine is a lifelong Stamps fan and host of the Go Stamps Go Show Podcast. He has been covering the team since 2008.