Surviving Halloween

Well it is still the 31st of October, and we have survived Halloween in Beetley. Regulars will be all too aware that I do not celebrate Halloween. In fact, I regard it as an American commercial invention, and avoid it, at all costs.

During all the years I lived in London, I had little or no idea about Halloween. For me, it arrived some time around 1990, with people knocking on the door after 6 pm, and asking for ‘Trick or Treat’. I had no treats prepared, and asked them for a trick instead. Some were flummoxed by my reply. Mums with small children called me a ‘meanie’, but older kids just threw eggs at our windows. By the time I was living in Camden, after 2000, older kids would knock up until 10 pm. They did not even bother to dress up, and never said ‘Trick or Treat’. They just wanted cash, which annoyed me even more.

By 2012, we were living here in Beetley. In a neighbourly spirit, we bought in lots of sweets and snacks, expecting better-behaved children to knock on our door on the 31st. But despite hearing them around on the nearby streets after dark, we didn’t get a single ring on the doorbell, or knock on the door. A few days later, we mentioned this to our neighbour. She told us that as we did not have a pumpkin outside, nobody would knock and disturb us. We had never heard of this tradition, but considered it to be admirable.

Since then, we have never put a pumpkin outside, and nobody has bothered us on the 31st. The same thng happened this evening. Despite crowds of noisy children traversing the local streets, nobody came to our door. Just as well, as we had no sweets ready, and Ollie might have barked. For us, this is an excellent way to celebrate Halloween, for those of us that do not want to celebrate it, and take part in the commercial excesses of this corrupted festival. Well done, Beetley.

We survived Halloween, and that made us happy.

57 thoughts on “Surviving Halloween

  1. Nate enjoyed last year’s and this year’s celebration of Halloween in Nissa’s office. They don’t have “trick or treat” though in their place. Lots of candies and chocolates, bad for the teeth 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s becoming more and more popular here in Australia as well. I’m part of a generation that didn’t celebrate it but have no interest in it. Can’t think of anything worse than knocking on other people’s doors or having them knock on mine but it is a bit of fun. Sounds like Beetley has the right idea as a community.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. In Spain, it wasn’t a thing either (I don’t know if it has changed, but as people live in apartments, at least in the big cities, I suspect there might be parties but not visiting around). The 1st there is a holiday, and the tradition was to go to the cemetery and visit your relatives who had passed away. There are also some sweets involved, but that depends on the place (roasted chestnuts and panellets… My experience here has varied. In some places where I’ve lived children have come knocking and in others not, regardless of any decorations or not. I think in some places children visit the houses of the other children. Here some years they have come and some haven’t. Yesterday, I decided to go to the local cinema (to watch the new Blade Runner movie) and it was well attended for a week day, so I suspect I wasn’t the only one who had the same thought.
    Enjoy your Wednesday.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is not celebrated here says she with a big smile..Do I miss it ..No! Like Mary, I remember when It was a nice evening with apple bobbing and a few sweets for the little kids and then it all changed. I like the idea of leaving a pumpkin outside and like you….I wouldn’t and I am not grumpy…Really…lol

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, come on. It is fun for so many people 🙂 It did become commercial – sort – of, but with all the glum and snobbery around the UK anyway, it is a relief to have something like this – fun, exciting, community-binding. As for Americanisation, well, well, the Halloween tradition originated first in the UK – the dressing up for Halloween was practised in the UK in the 16th century, when it has become custom in the US only in the 18th century. Therefore, it is a bit weird talking about the UK borrowing something from the US.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Diana, thanks for commenting.
      Dressing up for Halloween was done here hundreds of years ago, I know. As I mentioned in the linked post, it was taken to the US by British settlers. However, it was not that widely celebrated when I was young, until this country adopted the American commercialisation of it much later. If you enjoy it, then that’s fine. If parents now want to parade around with their kids on the 31st, that’s fine too. Just leave me out of it. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve just been waxing lyrical and nostalgically on another blog about how much I loved Halloween when I was a kid. We dressed up, went out in groups of three or four to every house on our road. This was no trick or treat event, though. We were guisers and we knew we had to work for whatever we might receive – recite a poem, sing a song, play a tune on a musical instrument or dance a Scottish Country dance. The ‘treats’ were a handful of nuts, apples, or homemade toffee apple, homemade table or toffee – rarely, were we given money. I suspect the money was from people who’d forgotten to prepare or had run out of other goodies.
    Sometimes we were invited to ‘dook’ for apples which were bobbing in a bowl of water. You either had to kneel on a chairl above the bowl and try to spear an apple by dropping a fork from between your teeth, or kneel on the floor and try to grab an apple in your teeth – you can imagine the result. Or, scones covered in treacle were suspended on strings and you’d to eat them with your hands behind your back. How the adult sadists laughed at that!!!
    I’m sorry it has become such a commercialised, dare I say, Americanised, occasion now. I’ll stop here before I start sounding like a grumpy old woman, just when I’m enjoying my trip down memory lane.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nothing wrong with saying it is Americanised, Mary. It is, and that’s a plain fact.
      I honestly never celebrated it at all in my youth, and didn’t know anyone else who did.
      Maybe that was unique to London? I might have enjoyed those treacle scones though!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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