If he answers his door on Halloween night, he’ll smile and give you some candy — but he won’t be dressed up.
Which is ironic, considering what Ray Page has hidden away behind the closed doors of his townhouse on General Currie Road in central Richmond.
Every year for Halloween for the last 18 years Page has indulged his passion for costume-making and has made at least one elaborate outfit for himself, his wife and his two sons, who’re now 24 and 17.
But most of the ones he’s made for himself are more macabre than Mickey Mouse, and he doesn’t want to mentally scar any trick-or-treaters that ring his bell.
“I remember one time I scared my wife, Blessie,” laughed Page, 56, who has lost count of the number of costumes he’s made over the years.
“She was new to the country, and to Halloween, and I wore one of my masks. She nearly passed out.”
Page said he will, however, dress up for his job at Canada Post’s sorting office at YVR, although he’s not sure what to wear this year.
“I maybe will wear the Knight King, not many people will have that,” added Page, referring to one of the characters from the hit TV series Game of Thrones that is fuelling his costume-making desires right now.
Dress-making mom inspires
Page’s passion dates back to his native Philippines, where his professional dress-making mom used to make clothes for him, his nine brothers and one sister, the latter of whom lives nearby in Richmond, the rest mainly still in his home country.
Given how many kids she had to dress, it’s not surprising that, at some point, Page — who was the youngest of the flock — picked up his own sewing skills and went to work on his own garb.
“I’ve always sewed. It comes from my mom,” smiled Page, who immigrated to Canada with his parents when he was 22.
“She was making wedding gowns when she was 13, I guess I got some of her skills. In all those pieces of fabric she had left over, I used to make my own pants, as a teenager. It was the ’70s, so I made flares.
“So I guess I’ve been doing this on and off for 43 years; it depends when some things inspire me, like The Game of Thrones.”
n Horrific fascination
Page’s first creation was the rather disturbing character Pinhead, from the movie Hellraiser. Since then, he’s been fascinated by the more horrific characters and costumes.
But it didn’t stop him — during the years of his kids growing up — from expertly fashioning Spider Man, The Hulk, Power Rangers, Buzz Lightyear et al to make sure his little ones were the envy of the neighbourhood.
“For me, it’s a form of art. I didn’t have Halloween in the Philippines when I was growing up. I came here and found out all about it,” he said.
“I wanted my family to participate and I wanted my kids to have a good costume. Every year, I would make them a costume and I would make one for myself also.
“But I don’t like to buy costumes, that’s too easy. This is much more fun.”
Not surprisingly, Page gets asked all the time to make costumes for people and people are always asking to borrow his amazing creations.
“I’ve never given them out,” he said. “I don’t like to give them out, they wouldn’t fit people anyway.”
Throne built from scraps
Given that his boys are now grown up, Page has long since donated the kids’ costumes to a local animal charity store.
But that has not stopped him sewing away and also making the most out of very modest materials, sometimes from unusual sources.
“I use lots of recycled materials. I got leather from a sofa at a recycling place, I used my old curtains and I also made the throne (from Game of Thrones) out of cardboard from the sorting office,” said Page.
“The throne took about a month, off and on. I worked on it in the garage every day. The leather costume took about three whole days, in total.”
As for the scraps of spare time he has left — around this time of the year especially — Page does indulge in one or two other creative habits.
“I do love some photography, and like tattoos. It’s all art,” he said.
“My wife likes it. She supports me; she’s OK with all of this…I think.”
That's so inappropriate
A national, online survey has found that most Canadians believe that specific types of Halloween costumes are deemed “inappropriate” for both kids and adults.
Across the country, more than three in five Canadians (63 per cent) — according to the Insights West survey — believe a costume for children that represents an ethnic stereotype is “inappropriate,” and slightly more than half feel the same way about a costume that changes the colour of the child’s skin.
Almost half of Canadians — 1,001 people were surveyed — think costumes where the child carries toy or replica weapons or that refer to a culture that is not the child’s own are “inappropriate,” while more than a third believe a costume that represents a social stereotype is also inappropriate.
When asked about the same five types of costumes being used by adults, Canadians reacted in the same way to representing ethnic stereotypes (63 per cent find it inappropriate); changing the colour of the adult’s skin (51 per cent); referring to a culture that is not the adult’s own (48 per cent); and carrying toy or replica weapons (47 per cent). About a third find fault with adults wearing a costume that represents social stereotypes.
Albertans are more likely to say they have no problem with costumes that entail changing a person’s skin colour or referring to a different culture, while British Columbians are more likely to find them inappropriate.
As for celebrating Halloween itself, more than 75 per cent of Canadians will take part in activities this year, with Albertans leading the country as the top provider of candy for trick-or-treating kids.
B.C. came out top in the survey for carving pumpkins and wearing a costume to work.
Other, more off the chart, results included more than three-in-five Canadians believing there is some form of life after death (62 per cent), while smaller proportions believe in ghosts (47 per cent); haunted places (47 per cent); demonic spirits (43 per cent); and the Devil or Satan (41 per cent). Only seven per cent believe in zombies.
About one-in-five Canadians say they have experienced some form of haunting, including 30 per cent of Atlantic Canadians. Fewer Canadians say they have seen a ghost (13 per cent).
The results of the survey were based on an online study conducted by Insights West from Oct. 18 to 22 among 1,001 Canadian adults.