Darkness has fallen and already we’ve had three knocks on the door. I know I sound like a grumpy old woman, but I really object to this. We have visitors staying this weekend and apparently they always get in a supply of sweets ready for the masked callers, big and small. I’m afraid I’m not so kind. In the past I’ve scared them away with my own horrible mask, squirted them with a water pistol and even handed out cloves of garlic!
I hate the commercialism of “Hallowe’en”. A few years ago I was on holiday in the USA in August, and the shops were crammed full with Hallowe’en merchandise. Everything you can imagine on a scale far greater than the masks/cheap cloaks and broomsticks/plastic fangs that plug that gap in our supermarkets between Back to School and Christmas. Most of this stuff in the USA was aimed at adults rather than children, and was for the type of woman who spends a great deal of time decorating and adorning her happy home appropriately and on a grander scale than anyone else in the street. Do I sound cynical here? Too right – Hallowe’en has become a great merchandising opportunity for retailers, with children encouraged to buy the spooky tat and adults obliged to buy buckets of teeth-rotting sweets (or should that be “candy”?).
Don’t get me wrong – I love to see children dressing up, and what better than Hallowe’en as a time to let your imagination run riot. But why go knocking on strangers’ doors and demanding sweets? That’s the bit I object to. Apart from anything else, the idea of gangs of kids roaming around the streets in the dark armed with eggs and flour and able to hide buy phentermine in mexico their identities behind masks is awful. And for someone of a paedophilic nature – what a perfect time to wear a mask yourself and go on the prowl, with all those unsupervised kiddies not worrying one bit about stranger danger. It’s perhaps the one night of the year when it is quite acceptable to offer sweets to children and get away with it. I really hate it.
Our visitors have also just reminded me of the general perception of Hallowe’en before it became a commercial opportunity. “Isn’t it about witchcraft and black magic?” asked one. At which I rolled my eyes in despair. I was forwarded a link today that appeared in the Times Online, about how people incarcerated in British prisons are now allowed to practise the pagan religion inside. Paganism has been officially recognised by HM Prison Service which is brilliant news. Let’s hope too that it helps dispel some of the awful myths and misconceptions about pagan beliefs.
There are people who practise dark magic, and people who use it for evil intent. But this is not the basis of belief for those of us who class ourselves as pagan. Today is a major festival for us – Samhain. It’s the last day of the year in the pagan calendar. See my website if you’re not sure of the significance of this, but it is the festival where we remember those we’ve loved who’ve died, and our ancestors in general. I shall be lighting a candle and focussing on this – and hope there are no more knocks on the door!
Bright blessings for Samhain to all readers of this blog. And a happy new year to you all!
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bright blessings kit!
oh i love this post so much~what you write is so true and i have had that eye rolling thing in the past where people on finding out what i am, as i dont hide it and tell people if they ask (and only if they ask) make comments like ‘oh watch out she will put a spell on you’ ‘big sigh’ and as for the commercialism…well you did the job for me 🙂
Kit, I totally agree with you. I don’t open the door either to trick or treaters. It’s a nuisance. I feel for the elderly. Luckily though no one knocked on my door this Halloween.
I agree it’s to commercialized now too.
I think it depends on the trick or treaters. My son and I went out this year, but we went with school friends and only go to houses that are prearranged. I only give out sweets to children with adult supervision, and I won’t give them to teenagers. I think if it is done carefully and conscienciously then there isn’t so much of a problem. But then, that’s much like everything really, isn’t it? It would mean if we lived near you, we wouldn’t disturb you, because we would know you didn’t like it.
I think the commercialism is too much, but then I don’t think it’s just Halloween’s problem, I just think all celebrations have this problem now. Anything of a spiritual nature is in danger of being hijacked by the moneymakers. I think it is probably just down to the individual to make what you view as sacred, sacred. (IYSWIM)
For those people who arent pagan and dont know where halloween came from and what the celebration/festival means. It is a time when you can have a bit of fun, dress up and go trick or treating. We cant criticize them for not knowing what it is about same as we cant criticize those who think it is an american tradition because these people havnt been educated or found the desire to research the traditions of such celebrations. If people dont want trick or treaters knocking on their door all they have to do is turn out their lights put up a no trick or treat sign and dont answer the door.
Also if children are getting squirted with water pistols for not doing any harm then why are people criticising them for carrying eggs and flour. If the people who dont want trick or treaters knocking on their door open their door and squirt water at innocent children then there is no question why children shouldnt think to throw an egg at that persons house because they squirted us. Adults are adults and should set an example to children that violence is not acceptable. if children get squirted with water just for partaking in a tradition which is actually a pagan tradition adults are telling the children that it is acceptable to be violent towards people for taking part in a british/pagan tradition.
Of all the children who knocked on our door 100% said thankyou 90% were accompanied by their parents, 10% were teenagers and 0% were rude or carrying items of a violent nature. The year that I didnt partake in giving sweets out I put a sign in the window and could here the children and adults saying no not that one look at the sign and got no knocks on our door and no eggs thrown at our door.
In reponse to Anonymous’s comment: I think it’s wonderful that children and parents in your area respect a sign saying “No trick or treaters”. In a friendly village type atmosphere I’m sure there aren’t any problems with nuisance, rudeness and aggression.
Unfortunately where I was living at the time of the water pistol incident (and it was only a little toy one, not one of those huge cannon things) I lived on an estate that had a strong element of young thugs, petty crime and was generally quite rough. Cars were often damaged, gardens trampled, stones thrown etc. The trick or treaters certainly wouldn’t respond to “Not Welcome” signs.
I was a school teacher and would never have behaved violently towards children (nor would I now of course). Nor would I squirt young children even though I didn’t want them calling. But there were many groups of young teens who simply donned a cheap mask from the supermarket (which also hid their identity of course), didn’t bother dressing up, and just marauded around the estate banging on doors. They even asked for money rather than sweets.
I felt squirting them with water was quite acceptable – and almost a joke rather than telling them to go away (which would have invited possible wing mirror damage etc). I hope this puts my post in more context. Maybe I was setting a bad example as an adult by not being friendly or welcoming, but I spent my working life setting a good example to youngsters and didn’t feel so obliged to in my private life – especially when it was the invasion of my privacy I was objecting to!
I really do love the idea of children dressing up for Hallowe’en, but keep it indoors in a party atmosphere, not out on the streets or on peoples’ doorsteps.
Violence against children is unacceptable they are only following a long tradition, whether you don’t agree with it or not surely its better to not answer the door than to shoot a water pistol against a child that is just having a little fun?