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Happy Halloween!


Melody
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I don't think that Halloween is an American import, although Trick or Treat may well be. I believe that Halloween has a long history in the UK (particularly the Celtic fringes) and Ireland and was taken to America by British and Irish immigrants. As a child in the 1960s and 70s we always carved a pumpkin and sometimes hosted Halloween parties when we bobbed for apples in basins of water or on strings. Quite a few practising Christians I know do not allow their children to 'celebrate' Halloween as they believe that this conflicts with their faith but, even though my parents were from Northern Ireland and we attended a Congregational Church (the nearest thing to a Presbyterian church that they could find), my parents had no problem with Halloween and we 'celebrated' it every year. Halloween is huge in North America these days. According to my sister who lives in Vancouver, it's almost as big as Christmas. As state schools in Canada are strictly secular you are more likely to have a Halloween party (or a Valentines Day party) than a Christmas party at school. I'm not sure when Trick or Treat began in the UK but I'd guess that it was around 15 years ago after American television programmes became more universally available in the UK.

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We didn't carve pumpkins we carved big swedes.  I thought pumpkins were an American import.  We either did duck apple or had the apples tied on string and hung up and we had to try and eat them with our hands behind our backs.  I liked duck apple best.

 

My sister was 9 years younger than me and she and our neighbour's son used to dress up in fancy dress to do a little trick or treating around our road.  My sister was very creative and used to come up with some fabulous costumes.  She did the same for my nieces when they were youngsters.  All the trick or treating was very low key and very local.

 

Our local Tescos is full of tubs of treats and has an aisle full of dressing up costumes!

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Well I love Horror films. Not so much the gory/slasher movies,but the ghost stories. There have been some fantastic ones of recent years; Paranormal Activity and Insidious are two that are the most memorable,made by the same production company and Director [i think]. So ,looking through the local paper I see that Ouija is on,beginning on Halloween night. I can never get Sean to go to the cinema with me [what 17 year old lad would want to be seen with his mum,right?], so I [bravely] go on my own. That is,if Sean is in the house when I get back. So,I`ve just mentioned to him where I will be going and what I will be going to see on Halloween night. Only for him to tell me he has made plans and will be out with his mates then staying over at his mates house on Halloween, all night. Which means I will be coming home after seeing a really scary film to an empty,dark house. NO WAY ! I may be brave in going to see the film by myself, but that`s as far as it goes.!!!! Guess I`ll just stay in and watch TV instead. [scaredy cat ].

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Halloween is not an American import as far as I am aware. Dressing up and going around houses in the neighbourhood is a tradition that goes way back - doesn't Shakespeare refer to it in one of his plays? But the 'trick or treat' aspect I think has come from America - the idea of a penalty if you do not give a treat. Traditionally I think the children were rewarded for their costumes or sometimes recited a poem or sang to earn their treat. I don't mind celebrating Halloween and certainly went to many parties as a child with the apple bobbing etc but personally I do not like the trick or treat aspect. There always seem to be a bunch of people who go round houses without even bothering dressing up, demanding trick or treat and it seems to be an excuse to get sweets or cover cars in flour or throw eggs at front doors etc. A few years ago on an estate in the nearby town there was a man going door to door with a baby aged about 2 months asleep in his arms, demanding sweets and money. Or there are groups of kids aged about 7 knocking on strangers doors! In our village the kids do dress up and go out but they stick to houses where they know the occupants or those with a Halloween decoration so they know they will be welcome - less dangerous for them and far less threatening to the house occupant.

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Much of the activity for small children seems to be confined to the school grounds - a school party or fair.  Very few young children on the street and if so - always accompanied by a parent.  Many shopping malls have something going for Halloween, too.

 

Some houses have modest displays - spider webs or ghosts, etc.  I haven't seen any light displays.

 

Adults are more into it then when I was a child.  Now there are lots of adult costume parties especially among the younger set.

 

There are always a few people who take advantage of whatever is going on - not particularly on Halloween.  

 

But, as usual, the majority are just having a bit of fun.  There's nothing wrong with having a bit of fun - 

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It's the 'trick or treat' aspect that I particularly dislike," give us something or we'll egg your front door", the kiddie equivalent of demanding money with menaces.  The fact that parents actively encourage that behaviour actually shocks me.

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My mother, who grew up in wartime when eggs were scarce, used to get really worked up about that. Not just the aspect of "hand over the loot or the car gets it" but the sheer attitude of treating food so casually.

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It obviously depends on who comes to your door. In my experience, there is no element of menace merely an implicit request for sweets. I put a pumpkin outside on Halloween thereby inviting callers. Last year I had a huge number of children - including several groups of about 8 to 10 children - come to my door and the sweets (two tubs of Celebrations) ran out very quickly. I'm not particularly keen on Trick or Treat but after my children started going Trick or Treating with other parents and children following Halloween parties - I could never face taking them myself - I felt that it was a bit hypocritical of me not to join in. I'm afraid that there won't be as many sweets this year as we started eating them last night!

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I suppose one reason why Halloween wasn't such a big celebration in the UK was the closeness to Bonfire Night. But it's such a big opportunity for shops to sell stuff (sweets, costumes, decorations), and along with the way that small private fireworks displays have been discouraged for safety reasons, I can see why the relevant businesses would have wanted it to catch on.

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  • 11 months later...

Seen this morning in the car park of my local supermarket,a little girl (not unaccompanied!) aged about four and dressed as a witch, sitting on her plastic pumpkin trick or treat bucket and making herself 'more comfortable'!

I wonder if that's called Halloweein'? :)

Edited by Jacqueline
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I quite like seeing little trick or treaters myself, but on Tuesday evening I was accosted by a mum and two kids, all dressed up as witches, and asking everyone they walked past on the street for sweets! Obviously I didn't have any on me! I thought they might be on their way to a party and were trying to stretch out the holiday a bit too far

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Not sure what to do about Blackie,our cat. Sean`s off out to his mate`s house,and i`m going to the cinema. If I leave her alone in the house she will cry like crazy until I come home. But the kids are letting off fireworks almost outside our house. If I leave her out she will probably be even worse. She`s already nervous tonight because a big,scary electrician came round to sort out my cooker. What should I do? Keep her indoors on her own,or make her go out? I`ll probably be back by 11.30pm at the latest,so it will only be for a few hours.

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Not sure what to do about Blackie,our cat. Sean`s off out to his mate`s house,and i`m going to the cinema. If I leave her alone in the house she will cry like crazy until I come home. But the kids are letting off fireworks almost outside our house. If I leave her out she will probably be even worse. She`s already nervous tonight because a big,scary electrician came round to sort out my cooker. What should I do? Keep her indoors on her own,or make her go out? I`ll probably be back by 11.30pm at the latest,so it will only be for a few hours.

Keep her in, draw the curtains and leave the radio on. Animals get so scared by the noise of fireworks. I've just seen a dog bolt pulling his owner over after a firework went off over the Thames.

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Keep her in, draw the curtains and leave the radio on. Animals get so scared by the noise of fireworks. I've just seen a dog bolt pulling his owner over after a firework went off over the Thames.

I agree, keep her in- if she's scared she'll hide under the sofa or somewhere she feels warm and safe, I think she'd be more panicked if she was trapped outside (and it could be dangerous for her to be near fireworks) x

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I kept her in.Let her go in the dining room,which is normally forbidden to her as she used to leave puddles for me in there,and not just puddles either. But I figured if she has an accident while we are both out it will be understandable. Just got back from The Quays [my old username,it`s a shopping centre.!!]. The film had some good scares but not quite as much as the first two.Still it was enjoyable. I phoned for a taxi to collect me to take me home,and waited,as I always do,outside near the railings . The shopping centre has two sets of double automatic doors,which open and close if anyone goes near them.Due to sensors,I think. Of all the times I have stood outside them waiting for a taxi home,not once has what happened tonight happened before. I can`t get it out of my head.One of the double doors opened very slowly. They actually were opening so slowly that they squeaked,which made me turn around to look at them as I didn`t know what the noise was. One set of the double doors opened,very slowly,then closed. Then they opened then closed.They did this 7 or 8 times. I have never in my life seen anything like it. There was NO-ONE around to trigger the sensors and I was nowhere near them. I was so relieved when my taxi arrived and i could get the hell out of there. Back at home now,and Sean`s still not home from his mates. I wish he would hurry up. I`ve got some film on to take my mind off it.

Edited by Lisa O`Brien
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I think Hallowe'en has gone way over the top in this country and trick or treating has gone way out of control!

 

When I am at home I pretend I am not in and don't answer the door!

 

What is wrong with duck-apple?  I used to love Hallowe'en as a child but not any more!

 

Bah Humbug rant over!

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I think Hallowe'en has gone way over the top in this country and trick or treating has gone way out of control!

 

When I am at home I pretend I am not in and don't answer the door!

 

What is wrong with duck-apple? I used to love Hallowe'en as a child but not any more!

 

Bah Humbug rant over!

I have to agree Janet. We live in a very rural location, our nearest neighbours being a 15 minute walk away down unlit lanes but we went through a period of having Trick or Treaters. I can only assume their parents were driving them around the villages.

 

Last night in London most of those dressed up were adults in very elaborate costumes, I assume they were off to parties or other events.

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We dressed the house up and had two sets of quite young children knock on the door.  Their parents kept thanking us so much and making sure the children thanked us, it was rather nice.  The downside is we have sweets left over - oh dear!!

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We dressed the house up and had two sets of quite young children knock on the door.  Their parents kept thanking us so much and making sure the children thanked us, it was rather nice.  The downside is we have sweets left over - oh dear!!

I`m going to admit something here. I bought "Halloween" sweets last year in anticipation for kids knocking at the door. And not one child knocked. Me and my son don`t eat sweets [cakes and chocolate,that`s another matter entirely!!!]. Anyway,this year I just bought two smallish bags of sweets and decided to use the ones still in the cupboard from last year. I have a plastic pumpkin bucket I put the sweets in ,have had it since Sean was little and it comes in handy. I put the new sweets and the bottom of the bucket and the old sweets on top. Lots of knocks on the door last night. Everyone tucked in to the bucket of last year`s sweets none the wiser. The new ones are untouched. They will go back in the cupboard and come out for next year. Aren`t I awful? 

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