Friday, October 31, 2014
Love it or loathe it, Halloween is here. The night when children go from door to door in the neighbour dressed up in costumes of witches, wizards, ghosts, skeletons, mummies etc.
When I was a child it was a pretty low key celebration but nevertheless, one I enjoyed. We bobbed apples and made our own costumes, walking from door to door where people either gave you sweets and/or money or turned you away without incident. These were people you tended to know and sometimes they'd invite you inside their homes and ask you to sing a song, or something like that.
It was great fun. I remember once my friend's father dressed in a white sheet as a ghost and scared the living daylights out of us and we loved it.
Nowadays though, Halloween seems so commercialised. Shops are full of outfits and special sweets and decorations for the occasion. Children now say, 'Trick or Treat', something they never said in the sixties and seventies. The idea being if the home owner doesn't give a treat to the caller then they'll get a trick played on them. This is often something like their doorstep/windows being pelted with eggs or some other 'trick'.
As well as this being totally antisocial it's also scary for the elderly and vulnerable.
I wish Halloween was as it was in the old days, more innocent with children making their own fun and only calling on the doors of people they know. It's become like a begging bonanza egged on by the parents these days [pardon the pun!].
It's my guess that many people will pretend to be out tonight, with lights turned off and TV turned down, or will actually go out to avoid it. Although Halloween is intended to be scary with the thoughts of ghosts and ghouls, it shouldn't mean the elderly or vulnerable have to hide away in their own homes to avoid trick or treaters, who might do something nasty or demand money or sweets from them.