It’s that time of year again when everyone goes a bit silly, dresses up their kids in daft costumes, and wander the streets purloining sweeties from people on their doorstep. I know a few people (Pete! 🙂 ) my boss Brenda and our office manager Lynn, and my own hubby, who’d rather turn off all the lights and hide behind the sofa than answer the door to the trick or treaters. It’s thought that today’s Halloween celebrations have been imported from America, but in reality it’s the Celtic festival of Samhaibut that started it all off. The Americans just took it over the top is all. I remember when I was a kid we’d have Halloween celebrations, mischief night as it was known and we (the street kids) would wrap peoples cars/dustbins/doorhandles etc in toilet paper, stick rude paintings on their windows and such like. Pumpkins were employed back then too, my Mum was great at carving them, and I like to do them too. Originally called Jack ‘o Lanterns, the practice of carving Jack-o’-lanterns goes back to the Irish legend of Jack, a lazy but shrewd farmer who tricked the Devil into a tree, then refused to let the Devil down unless the Devil agreed to never let Jack into Hell . The story goes that the Devil agreed, but when Jack died, he was too sinful to be allowed into Heaven, and the Devil wouldn’t let him into Hell. So, Jack carved out one of his turnips, put a candle inside it, and began endlessly wandering the Earth for a resting place. He was known as Jack of the Lantern, or Jack-O’-Lantern. We’d also have family competitions, bobbing for apples (trying to pick an apple out of a bowl of water only using your mouth) trying to eat an apple dangling from a string without using your hands, and all sorts of other daft games. And we didn’t know much about American traditions at all!
When I lived in Hemel Hempstead when Ben was a little lad, I’d get my pals round on Halloween, and decorate the front room with ghosts and crows and spiders and webs made from black paper. We’d all dress up and have sweets, cakes, the apple games and pumpkins everywhere, and when the trick or treaters came round we’d make them come in and bob for an apple before they had to dig their hands into a bowl of flour to find the sweets, don’t think in these days where everyone is paranoid that I could get away with that now!
So now I put a pumpkin outside my door, buy a big bowl of sweets, and when they come knocking I make them all have their picture taken to get the sweeties. If Mum or Dad are with them I ask permission and give them my email for if they want a copy of the shot. No-one’s minded – so far! I love the happy little dudes and dudettes and we have a giggle at their costumes. It’s possibly the only time of year I actually meet any of our neighbours in the vicinity, we’re stuck out at the edge of the estate in a secret cut de sac. I answer the door on and off for about an hour, then the pumpkin comes in, the door light goes off, and that’s it for another year. Roll on 2018 🎃
This year’s scary peeps