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GENE'S BLOG: Happy Halloween

In his latest blog, Gene Principe celebrates the spirit of Halloween and reflects on how the Oilers chose to embrace the festive tradition this year

by Gene Principe @GenePrincipe / Sportsnet

Watch: Youtube Video

It is the third thing I check on the Oilers schedule the minute it comes out. First is Christmas. I know there are no games but I'm always curious whether the Oilers play right before or right after. Second, I check my kids birth dates. All three are born during the hockey months. Then I check the 31st of October to see if the team is on the road. That's the worst case scenario. Next best is at least a game at home so you can soak up some of the Halloween flavour (and chocolate). Best case is no game and no travel which means no obstacles to enjoy one of my favourite nights of the year.

I mean just look at the Oilers and you need not look much farther for a group of adults enjoying Halloween. Zack Kassian and his girlfriend dressed up as babies. Pat Maroon and his signifcant other took a page, or a scene, out of the movie Little Giants.The 1994 film is about a group of misfits who form their own opposing team to an elite peewee football team. I have never seen the film, but to be honest with you, it didn't matter. Seeing Pat dressed up as 'Spike' and his girlfriend Francesca playing the role of 'Icebox' was good enough for me. Canadians and Americans joining in on the Halloween tradition, but they weren't the only nationalities. How about Jesse Puljujarvi dressing up as a character from The Incredibles? Or Anton Slepyshev dressing up as a convict and his family wearing police uniforms?

When the Oilers had their annual Halloween party I couldn't think of a better night of male bonding and camaradarie. What better conversation starter is there than a costume? A nice way for young and older, Europeans, Canadians and Americans to come together for a night of fun. Everyone can let their hair down - whether it's actually their own or whether it's a wig - and just enjoy a night not meant to be spent discussing power plays or penalty kills. It's not about hockey but it helps the process of team building. We all dressed up as kids and now the Oilers can turn back the clock and be kids again. Albeit, Puljujarvi isn't too far off being young enough to actually go out trick or treating.

I remember former Oiler Georges Laraque was always a big hit on Halloween. Big Georges would give out the full size chocolate bars and dress up to greet his Halloweeners at the door. Whether the costumes were made at home, which was certainly the case when I was a kid, or bought at a store, it gives us all a chance to be someone else. I remember when I was a kid I liked dressing up as a hockey or soccer player. I played both sports but once you throw on a pro sports jersey, suddenly, you felt like a professional athlete yourself. This season the Oilers are all dressed up as one of the elite teams in the NHL and I don't think this is a costume they'll be taking off anytime soon. They are for real.

Wherever you are and whomever you are with I hope you get lots and lots of candy and have just as much fun. Here's wishing you and yours a safe and Happy Halloween.

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