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Not so ‘harmless fun’.

Posted by Big John on October 28, 2006

I have just visited my local Sainsbury’s supermarket where, as I entered, I was confronted with a huge heap of pumpkins.

Everywhere that you look at the moment you are reminded that it is almost time for that annual event which large commercial organisations and marketing companies have  imported from America … Yes ! That’s right it’s nearly ‘Trick or Treat’ time once again.

No, I don’t mean Halloween, for that is an old festival in this country dating back to pagan times and has always been a time for parties with traditional apple ducking, fireworks, recounting of ghost stories and playing games. What I mean is this idea that ‘Trick or Treat’ is all about banging on people’s doors after dark, demanding money and frightening the wits out of many old folk. It should be renamed ‘Trash or Cash’.   

A couple of years ago, one wet and windy late October evening an elderly lady who lives a few doors from me appeared on my doorstep in a very distressed state. It appeared that she had opened her street door only to be confronted by two man sized teenage yobs wearing rubber skull masks who yelled “trick or treat!” and held out their hands …  Guess what ? It wasn’t even Halloween ! 

I know that in the USA Halloween is a major event, but what many people in this country fail to understand is that Trick and Treating is generally organized in such a way that you only take part in the fun if you want to.  I believe that you let this be known by leaving a pumpkin on your porch or by showing some other sign that you will welcome children and hand out small treats of candy and the like.
This is something that the money grabbing companies that promoted this event in the UK forgot to tell anyone.

Don’t get me wrong, for I like to see children enjoying themselves, and this can be achieved without spending a fortune at ‘ASDA’ (Wal-Mart) and without being a nuisance to others.

So to all my blogger friends in the US may I wish that you all have a great time at Halloween, and to all those little hooligans who are thinking of knocking on my door on the 31st, be prepared to be told that  …

……  “This is not the United States, so … Piss off !”  👿         


10 Responses to “Not so ‘harmless fun’.”

  1. Maria said

    After teaching little demons (in costume) all day, the last thing I wanted to do was to see more in the evening. I had a wonderful plan for Halloween survival. I went out for early dinner and then took in a movie. This way no one was home and I had an enjoyable time. I suggest you try this American idea.

    I notice even the U.S. is moving away from this tradition now that we have exported it to the U.K. There is a trend for churches and civic organizations to have parties that encourage the children to attend rather than trick or treat around the neighborhoods.

    Anyway, if I were in the U.K. I would come knocking on your door for trick and treats, just to hear you say “Piss Off”.

  2. Betty said

    I would celebrate Hallowe’en if I didn’t have to endure the Trick or Treating. Supposedly, if you turn on your porch light, the little beggars will feel free to bang on your door, but if the light is off, they are supposed to pass you by. I’m here to tell you that it just doesn’t work that way in a neighborhood overrun with children. So I’ve compromised. I’ll turn on the light for an hour or so, then turn it off, along with all the other lights in the apartment, and watch television until bedtime.

  3. Longrider said

    We just don’t answer the door. I detest this “tradition” with a vengeance. It is, after all, making demands with menaces, which makes it deeply unethical. It isn’t harmless fun and I fail to see why others should be forced to take part.

    While we are in a grumpy mood, the fireworks started the other evening. November the fifth is a week away. FFS! We have to put up with the pops, fizzes and bangs for a fortnight either side of this inane “tradition”. Again, I fail to see what is so pleasurable about burning human effigies. That said, I wouldn’t seek to stop it, I just wish the buggers would stick to the one night.

  4. Libertine said

    Yes, the usual habit is to leave the porch light off and keep the curtains closed.

    Nor does Trick or Treat generally involve giving out money — it’s meant for giving out candy.

    Also, some areas of the US, but not all, have “Mischief Night”, the night before Halloween, where kids go out and put toilet paper in trees, soap on windows, turning over trash; that sort of thing.

  5. ginnie said

    Not my favorite night by a long shot. I’m one of the ones that turns out all the lights and goes to the movies.
    In our area I think they are opting more for the Sat. night party…but there’s always one or two with parents in tow on the actual Halloween night.
    Is there anything else in the obnoxious line that we can send your way??

  6. Big John said

    Maria, Ginnie, Betty and ‘Libertine’. I must have seen too many of those American movies where it appears that whole neibourhoods just love ‘Trick or Treat’ and everyone has huge bowls of candy ready and waiting for well behaved little children to call. 🙂

    At the moment Ginnie I can’t think of anything else that you can send to us, but you can bet your life someone is working on it right now.

    Your dead right about the fireworks Mark. They started around here about two weeks ago and will now go on right into the new year. I mowed my lawn today and found three burnt out rockets hidden in the grass.

  7. Terri said

    You are a hoot, John! LOL I love your prepared response to the kids.
    Before we moved to the island, our bell rang constantly and I’ve always felt this is SUCH a barbaric holiday….we teach our kids to be safe and then allow them to go door to door to strangers homes. NOT to mention the pain it is to jump up every 5 min. to dole out goodies to the little beggars. Take them to a community party is what I say and leave US alone.
    But here on the island…NObody comes to the door. Downtown all the merchants stay open later and pass out candy to the kids….now THAT is what I call civilized.

  8. Imagine in Spain, where there’s not tradition at all, but the last few years commercial interests are having great success at this, unfortunately. The literal translation of ‘treat or trick’ sounds really ridiculous.
    Some children called at my door. ‘Nor trick nor treat’ I said, ‘come back in Christmas, for we do celebrate it, and sing some carols, there will be sweets for all’.
    I know i have look liked like an antisocial freak but I don’t care.
    It happens something curious in Spain: the more anti-american & anti-bush people are, the more they love (American) Halloween or Santa Claus (neither traditional here). Someone can explain or do I ask straight to Dr. Freud?

  9. Ah, and I really didn’t know you (UK) had no tradition of this kind of Halloween. I’m sorry for you too

  10. Big John said

    I bet that in Spain A.H. they all come with fireworks. The Spanish always seem to be letting off bangs every weekend whenever I have been there.

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