Trick or Treat (but mostly trick)
I don’t like Halloween. I’m not a big fan of things that are ‘scary’ anyway, I hate horror movies, and Halloween is fast becoming my least favourite ‘Holiday.’
I don’t know why, but people appear to think that it is ok to behave differently from the rest of the year at Halloween. A few years ago someone threw a firework under my car as I started it. More recently, someone threw eggs at me as I was walking with my husband to the local pub for dinner. This evening we had raw eggs thrown at our front door. These incedents took place in different places, different years, but always on Halloween. When else do people throw eggs at strangers from moving cars?
Tonight we have had eggs thrown at our front door because we didn’t open it to give sweets to strangers. We were upstairs at the time that they knocked (about 6pm), bathing both children. The Boy was crying and The Girl was throwing toys and water out of the bath. We didn’t even hear the knock. We had sweeties all ready to hand out, and it took the next set of trick-or-treaters, who did get our sweets, to point out that our door was covered with egg. Sometime later, a Mum with a small witch by her side walked past me as I was scrubbing the front door and asked ‘did someone throw eggs at your door?’ When I responded positively she said ‘I didn’t think people actually did that!’
No. Neither did I.
Since I became a Mum I have learnt to dread bonfire night, but now we have fireworks on Halloween as well. Why?! The Girl is already struggling to sleep due to the hubbub outside, and now, for some reason, we add fireworks to the mix. Probably just because they are available. Luckily The Dog barely notices, but I know she is a minority in this. Some find it very stressful, making this whole week very difficult for them.
Am I a Scrooge for not taking The Girl trick-or-treating? She’s two, The first time she ever had a lollipop was less then a week ago, and we had to throw it away, covered in dog hair, her arms and face sticky as flypaper. Why do I want to take her to strangers houses to beg for more?!
Maybe I am a bit bah humbug about it. Maybe I need to lighten up and see it all as a bit of fun. Trouble is, it never seems fun. Trick-or-treating, going door to door round your naghbourhood asking for sweeties ‘or else’ seems really selfish to me. We wouldn’t accept this behaviour from children any other time of year, demanding sweets and threatening bad behaviour if not? Then why actively encourage it now? Not to mention the whole stranger-danger element...don’t talk to strangers unless it’s Halloween and then you can knock on their doors? What?
In the U.S.A, where the tradition in its current form originates, there are rules. You don’t knock if the house isn’t decorated for Halloween, there are adults supervising, but even then, asking for sweets in return for not doing something mean is a long way from the origins of the activity.
During the festival of Samhain, children sometimes asked for food in return for a poem or a song. They would dress as sprits to keep themselves safe by confusing the sprits wondering the earth because this was the night in the pagen calander when the barrier between the sprit world and ours was at its weakest. It marked the start of winter. Perhaps it comes from the tradition of leaving food out for visiting relatives from the sprit world. (In the States some households just leave a bowl of sweeties outside for children to take). Even the Christian adaptation, All Hallows’ Eve, the night before All Saints Day, followed by All Souls’ Day (where people remembered the dead) dosen’t show much in the way of ‘give me something for nothing or else.’ So I am struggling to see where this attitude comes from.
I am aware that, like so many things, it is the few who ruin it for the meny, but I won’t put it down to ‘silly kids’ or ‘teenagers.’ I know so meny wonderful teenagers, and they get such a bad name in the media I will not add to it. Most of the teenagers I know wouldn’t dream of throwing eggs at a strangers house for simply being at home but being a bit busy.
As the children get older, they will no doubt want to join in with their friends doing Halloweenie type things, dressing up, watching scary movies or even the dreaded trick-or-treating, and I will have to decide what I actually want to do about it. For as long as possible I will continue to pretend it isn’t happening.
The ostritch method. Is that a thing? Ostrich-parenting? Its all I’ve got for this right now. Hopefully it will last a few years.