Last year I blogged about Hallowe’en and my aversion to kids knocking on my door expecting sweets or money. Especially sullen teenagers in a cheap mask and football shirt. I told of how one year, after several visits like this, I had armed myself with a waterpistol and had squirted the hapless callers. I thought this was quite amusing as no harm was done at all, but someone reading my blog took offence and I suspect she doesn’t follow me any more.

On my community site last year there was much discussion about trick or treating, and I started to think that maybe I was just being a miserable old bag. People wrote how they bought sweets especially for the little callers, and how cute some children looked in their adorable Hallowe’en outfits. I guess my aversion was because my experiences had all been with quite threatening or at best, half-hearted, teenagers who hadn’t made any effort at all with their costumes, but were quite aggressive and surly in their demands. Althought I still have problems with the idea of children out in the dark knocking on people’s doors and roaming the streets – it seems to fly directly in the face of all the stranger-danger stuff we teach them.

But this year I decided to lighten up and actually bought some chocolate eyeballs. I was quite looking forward to pressing them into a small sweaty hand. But nobody came. I was on Twitter and it was interesting to see people’s reports of the Trick or Treating in their street. Jonathan Ross had loads of callers – and he was holding a party as well. Another lady counted thirty visitors in total. But many people reported no callers at all, and were quite disappointed when they had to eat all the sweets themselves. These seemed to be in the majority, and it made me wonder if Trick or Treating was actually fizzling out, after seeming to be taking off in recent years.

I noticed that lots of people were holding Hallowe’en parties (obviously helped by the fact that it fell on a Saturday cheap adipex diet pills this year) and I saw many advertised in Village Halls and other public places. Perhaps it’s recognised that both children and adults just love dressing up in Hallowe’en fancy dress, and the Trick or Treating is only to give them an excuse to do this and show off their costumes. So if a party is on offer, that’s infinitely preferable to traipsing the streets, knocking on doors and maybe even getting squirted by some nasty old woman like me!

What experiences did others have this year? I’m thinking of the UK and Europe here of course – I’m assuming my US and Canadian readers had lots of Trick or Treat activity. And what about Australia and other parts of the world? It would be really interesting to hear if others noticed a decline too in door-knocking activity.

I also noticed how much more merchandise was available in the shops this year. It seems each year Hallowe’en becomes even bigger. My local Sainsbury’s had the whole of a long aisle devoted to it, and had decorated the front of the store. John Lewis’s staff, when I visited on Wednesday, were in fancy dress and looked splendid! The female sales assistants had all dressed as witches and I overheard a very funny thing – someone was on a walkie-talkie and said, “Children’s Department Witch to Shop Floor Witch …” It was very incongruous, especially as she was wearing black and purple striped tights and was covered with cobwebs, but trying hard to be efficient and helpful to her waiting customer.

Personally I hope that Trick or Treating is dying a death in the UK, where it’s only been going a few years anyway. I think it’s great if people are dressing up and going to parties together instead, children and adults together all in Hallowe’en costume. This seems to me to be a lovely return to what the festival was originally – one of the eight pagan celebrations of the year when the community would join together for feasting and fun. And not a chocolate eyeball in sight!


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  1. Ancestral Celt 15 years ago

    Trick or treating has been going on in my neighbourhood since I moved here six years ago. However, nobody ever comes to my door, owing to the electric gates, trenches and guard dogs. *LOL* That said, I do decorate the house, even if the owners insist on keeping riff-raff out.

    I saw only a few dribs and drabs of trick or treat kids this year, though. And, like you, my local shops carried a bigger stock of Halloween stuff. Certainly, there were many more parties and rituals going on in previous years, probably because it was the weekend.

    Personally, I don’t mind trick or treat, as it has some origins in guising (thought it is now meshed with Guy Fawkes and “souling”), though I’d rather the old traditions were brought back to life at Halloween.

  2. Kit Berry 15 years ago

    Hi Ancestral Celt! Mr B and I were talking about this tonight after he heard a programme on Radio 4, debating which was the most popular – Hallowe’en or Guy Fawkes Night. I told him GF night was all part and parcel of a much older celebration, which he hadn’t realised. Bonfires, burning effigies – all sounds very folky to me!

  3. Firecracker 15 years ago

    Hi Kit!

    This year I spent Halloween in Scotland and its quite a big thing up there. Most of the houses are decorated and people give away bags of goodies, including monkey nuts (dont know what that custom is about) and fruit.

    But rather than just expect treats the children have to either sing a song or tell a joke, which seemed much better to me than just expecting them for nothing. Dan and his friends went to about 7 houses and he had a carrier bag full of goodies and I was sick of hearing twinkle twinkle lol.


  4. Feather 15 years ago

    In the netherlands, you see a bit more of halloween every year. Merchandise (mainly candleholders, figurines and pumpkin- or ghostshaped baking tins) halloween-themed parties, halloween-themed episodes on the dutch comedy central channel…but I haven’t heard anything about trick- or treating at halloween. I guess that’s partly because there’s no point in going door to door if none of your neighbours expect you to come as it’s just not a tradition here, but also because we celebrate “Sint Maarten” (Saint Martin) here on the 11th of november (yes, today). Kids go door to door with a paper lantern, store-bought or home-made, and sing a song to be rewarded with candy. In my hometown there was also a parade which ended with the burning of a wooden horse.
    There’s no dressing up though, but ofcourse we have plenty of time to do that in early spring at “Carnaval”
    I guess there’s just too much competition with other local traditions for halloween trick or treating to become something permanent and I hope it stays this way. Don’t mind gaining something fun, but hate to lose something that’s been with us for so long to some commercial imported crap! Same goes for St. Nik vs Santa.

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