Well it’s Halloween and I am unmoved. I believe in heaven and in hell but right now hell seems more like mindlessly adopting a tradition that has no real basis here in Blighty. Trick or treat? Trick, without a doubt.
Back home as a kid in Wales, we used to bob for apples on Halloween – a baby bath full of water filled with apples and you had to get as many as you could using only teeth – and I’d chase my brother around the house for a bit wearing a sheet before we both got sent to bed for riotous, verging on hysterical, behaviour.
With my own boys, we bobbed apples and I made toffee apples. We played hide and seek
in a dark house with lots of creeping about interspersed with shrieks of delighted fear and the dog always giving the game away and taking advantage by licking your face if you were hiding on your hands and knees behind the sofa.
Whoever thought it was a great idea to let kids go out in the dark, ringing the doorbells of total strangers and demanding “Trick or treat?”
How many older people dread it? Not answering the door invites a trick. It could be smashed eggs all over the front windows or it could be a firework through the letterbox. My mother arrived home from a night out one Halloween to find a large patch of burnt carpet in the hallway and the remains of a Roman candle.
Parents today generally seem obsessed by stranger danger – sometimes with due cause. They won’t let the kids play out unsupervised yet they are happy for them to roam the neighbourhood knocking on the doors of potential paedophiles. It’s not a great idea.
Let kids play games, dress up, party, get scared in a safe environment. Let them write their own scary stories, act out a scary play but only at their level.
Let’s not impose on them, the bandaged undead, the bleeding, open-wounded, limb-missing gangrenous adult standards of horror. I may be soft but I’ve always felt children should be protected from the stuff of nightmares. They are just kids, after all, in need of fun, cuddles, reassurance and love.
I’ve still got a childish story pinned up on my study wall written by #1 son when he was eight years old. The headline reads “Humped by UNKNOWN BEING.”
My first reaction when he showed it to me was ‘Blimey! Now that *would* be scary….’
Then I noticed the small “T” at the beginning of the sentence and realised it was an account of yet another physical onslaught from his little brother.