Planet of the (Canoeing) Apes: Halloween in Algonquin Park. Photo by David Lee.

Planet of the (Canoeing) Apes: Halloween in Algonquin Park. Photo by David Lee.

By David Lee

I’ve been on countless canoe trips, and I’ve lived through many Halloweens, but never thought to combine the two. Until now. It has got to be one of the nuttiest canoe trips I’ve organized, and one I’ll never forget.

It wasn’t just a canoe trip in costumes. There was another element–we’d be reverse trick or treating from our canoes. We had plenty of paddlers, despite the very real possibility of freezing temperatures and snow. This group was both hardened and super excited to participate. We headed to Canada’s most famous and popular canoe destination – Algonquin. I surmised that this location would give us the best chance of finding fellow canoeists camped out at this time of year.

The costumes, decorations, and Halloween party was a huge hit, but it was the treat or trick outing that made this Halloween canoe trip so special. The weather that day was bad, with strong winds and persistent rain, but late in the afternoon when the weather briefly cleared, and we we headed out–11 paddlers strong, in costumes.

Bonus: Gumby suits are warm. Photo by David Lee.

Bonus: Gumby suits are warm. Photo by David Lee.

The reactions and comments were priceless. We found a total of four groups of fellow paddlers, who we surprised with our costumes and treats. Instead of taking treats, we handed them out after yelling, “Trick or trick!”

From a pair of good friends on their annual canoe trip together, to a group of international students here to learn English, we were just thrilled to find other campers to share in the Halloween spirit. If you think we left with great memories, imagine the stories they will be sharing. “Seriously! A pair of Gumby’s in a canoe approached our camp …”

Will we do it again? You bet! Canoe trips and Halloween will never be the same again!

The crew in costume. See you next year! Photo by David Lee.

The crew in costume. See you next year! Photo by David Lee.