Thursday, 1 November 2018

Alas, Poor Yorick!

I am not one for celebrating Halloween really. As a Christian, I'm just not comfortable with the idea of children dressing up as witches and zombies and scaring the life out of people whilst demanding treats. So many of the customs which have come across the Atlantic seem unnecessarily gruesome.

Yes, I do know that the origins date back centuries to Celtic folklore, and apple bobbing and turnip lanterns etc started here in Britain, emigrated to the States, and returned again. It doesn't mean I have to like them! For many years I've been involved in 'Light Parties' arranged by church youth groups, providing safe, un-scary fun - and even tea parties for OAPs so they could be with friends for the evening, and avoid being home alone when the T-or-T mobs besieged their doors. 
But honestly, it seems awful that this week Britons will waste 18000 tons of food, in the form of pumpkin flesh [that's equivalent to the weight of 15000 double decker buses] No ZeroWaste there, then. And parents will spend a fortune on green facepaint and cheaply made, possibly flammable, costumes.

When my daughters were in Primary School, in the 1980s, their Headteacher banned 'general' Trick-or-Treating [except visiting friends or family members] . He said that he felt it was not a safe activity, as it worried vulnerable people in their homes, and it meant children were out crossing roads in the dark often not fully concentrating on the traffic. 99% of the parents back then were in full support. Maybe they would not be so supportive now. [spoiling their fun...]
But I'm becoming slightly more tolerant. A young Norfolk neighbour has mobility issues. A few years back, we were there at halfterm, and her Mum asked me 'Do you do Halloween? I know you're a Christian and I will understand if you don't. But she is desperate to do Trick-or-Treat and all the other people living in the close are OAPs who don't like opening their doors once it's dark." It was one of those WWJD moments.
I said that if she came at 6.30pm I would be prepared. I peeped through the window, and saw the wheelchair being parked behind the fence, and watched my friend - in a fairy costume, but with green make-up - struggling bravely up the path to the front door [Mum-the Witch close behind] I pretended to be scared, and handed over the chocolate, and there was much giggling. I was really impressed that Mum had begun by giving me an escape route - she'd obviously considered that I might not want to support 'pagan rituals'. It would have been churlish to take the high moral ground. This year she won't be able to do T-or-T, but I still left a bag of sweets with her Mum before we returned to Dorset.
Rosie's nursery asked that all the children went in Halloween costume yesterday.
Ever practical Liz decided my grand-daughter could go as a witch's cat. After all, her gran made her that splendid cape back in the spring. Why spend money in Asda on another outfit? And she can easily slip off the cape if it impedes her activities.
Here she is, preparing to go into Nursery yesterday morning, being a scary cat. "Cats have prickly feet, Grandma" she told me last week.
Here in Ferndown, people have decorated their gardens with pumpkins and hung banners on their doors. Further up the road, they've clearly been to Argos and wasted splashed out fifteen quid on a DIY graveyard, with bones and tombstones. Their front garden now looks like a neglected cemetery. The skull blew away down the street - I was rather amused to see someone come out of the house and retrieve it.

Sadly it was neither David Tennant nor Kenneth Branagh.
Now they would have been a treat worth opening the front door for!


  1. We had a general appeal here for T & T'ers to go only to houses with some sort of Hallowe'en decoration. That seems to be a good idea from everyone's point of view.

  2. We only T&T at prearranged houses. This year we called on my parents and the homes of the kids they play with on the street we live on. After two or three visits up and down the road they were all to chilly to continue so we went indoors. We had a few random T&Ts we didnt know but not many

  3. We too have a Light party run by our church. I feel sad when I see the horrible things on sale to 'celebrate' Halloween.

  4. We shut the curtains and don’t answer the door. I walked out to the town for some shopping this morning and there were a number of discarded pumpkins lying about. Like you, I am appaled at the waste of food and the amount of platic pollution. Rosie looks happy and beautiful as always. My daughter always wore a Halloween outfit made by me to the Brownies party. Up nere in Scotland it used to be called guising but T orT seems to prevail here too.

  5. Rosie makes an adorable witch's cat!

  6. Hi, Angela! I am an American and I don't like Halloween either. I never have. When my children were small I didn't allow them to go door to door. When they went to parochial school, the school had a celebration that they attended but up until that time, we didn't participate in anything. I am of English/Welsh descent and I just recently learned that Halloween is actually a Celtic celebration. I had no idea. We have Thanksgiving which is in honor of the first year that our pilgrim families survived being here. I read someplace where it was actually a "harvest home" celebration which was traditionally done in their native England. I am not a huge fan of Thanksgiving either! I believe in giving thanks every day and there is always too much food! Haha!

    1. Hi B-B, thanks for the comment. I always enjoy your blog. The media gives the impression that everybody in the USA loves Halloween so it's interesting to read an alternative view point

    2. I think people still "do" Halloween but with a good deal more caution than when I was a child. Things have just gotten too dangerous. I don't like ghoulish things -- I don't like gory movies, I don't like scary stuff but my dislike of Halloween is more personal. Our weather in South Texas tended to change on Halloween. It could be like summer when we went to school that morning and end up cold as anything by bedtime. So, we would don our plastic costumes and just about die of the heat but before it was over, we were cold yet sweaty and on the verge of being sick. Personally, I was quite the clumsy little dumpling and I would fall over everything. The last year I went trick or treating, I fell three times -- once over stakes and strings that somebody had put up to protect their new plants. I fear they didn't survive. That was pretty much it for me -- I had more fun standing at the door giving out candy. When my children were small there was a rash of drug/razor blade/metal shard laced candy and they just didn't go. Yes, they fussed. No, I didn't care.

  7. We were away visiting my sister in Wales this time but we don’t enjoy Halloween. Luckily where we have moved to have a rule that you only knock if there is a lit pumpkin outside the front of the house or in the window and everyone respects that. Such a lovely place we live in. Our messy church this year was super heroes which they all loved. Our littlest granddaughter would much rather be batgirl than a princess šŸ˜‰


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