As the sun settles in the western sky on October 31, an aura of mystery descends upon towns and cities across Canada. Children don masks, costumes and make-up, and bravely head out to face what lies in wait: jack-o-lanterns, mysterious spirits, and of course, candy. Hallow's Eve, or Halloween as it is more commonly known, has become a cherished tradition, and along with it, symbols of the supernatural have found a place in our culture - vampires, ghosts, werewolves and goblins.
Inspired by the 100th anniversary of Bram Stoker's novel "Dracula", and by the release of similar commemorative stamps in the United States, Britain and Ireland, Canada Post will issue a set of four ghoulish domestic-rate stamps. This year's "October is Stamp Collecting Month" issue is sure to delight Canadian stamp collectors, especially young, budding philatelists.
Perhaps less frightening than vampires, werewolves and ghosts, goblins overshadow their fellow spooks in number. Goblins abound across Canada - from Newfoundland's Celtic little people and the Maritimes' brownies and the Will o' the Wisps, to Quebec's "Lutins" and "Feux follets", and the Mohawks' yagodenoyoyas. Brownies, called "baucan" in Nova Scotia, are said to be the largest of the pixies and behave like poltergeists. The Will o' the Wisps, "Feux follets" and yagodenoyoyas are said to be the smallest. Some goblins are friendly, some mischievously playful. Others are dangerous creatures, said to commit evil acts such as stealing babies and replacing them with "changelings". The "Feux follets" are malevolent goblins, said to toss knives and other objects. The "Lutins" are unpredictable characters - some good, some evil. Farmers in the Beauce region of Quebec have been known to build tiny bell towers on their barns to ward off sinister "Lutins".
These stamps were created from the imaginations of four Canadian illustrators. The artist's portraits were then adapted by Toronto designer Louis Fishauf into the spooky stamp set available to Canadian collectors. Though the cartoon-style of the drawings lightens the tone of the imagery, the visuals still convey a chilling air of horror. Available in panes of 16 stamps, the Supernatural stamps will be issued October 1 for October is Stamp Collecting Month.