When I was little in Scotland x-number of years ago, Halloween was a big deal. Lots of dressing up – and fun costumes just as much as scary – and what we called “guising” around neighbour’s houses.Bedecked in our finery and carrying a turnip lantern (think pumpkin but carved from swedes and with a string handle) we’d knock at friendly houses and greet the occupant with the chant “The sky is blue, the grass is green, may we have our Halloween?” Then we’d be invited inside (remember this is in the days when only tiny tots would have an adult with them!) and earn our treats with our party pieces of poetry, song, dance, or even a few jokes. Then we’d be very grateful for a handful of monkey nuts (and I hate those!) or an apple or even a satsuma. Sweets were a rarity! When we got home, Mum would let us choose one thing to eat then the rest became our play-piece for the rest of the week at school.
We even had a Sunday School party for a number of years with the obligatory games of dooking for apples or trying to eat a scone covered with black treacle that dangled from a string (without using hands!) The minister would even put in an appearance…
Moving to England when I married was a culture shock in many ways. Halloween was one…when my own children got to school age I wanted them to have the same sort of memories as I had, but not to go trick-or-treating around stranger’s houses as seemed to be the norm here. So we had Halloween parties at home with a few friends, decorating the house and making up scary menu’s (Eyeballs in Gore with Maggots or Deadmen’s Toes were favourites!) We’d play games and then the children would do their party pieces for a reward of sweets. One year, my parents were staying so I actually commandeered a friend’s rather larger house for the night!
However, my older children are now away at university, and this year DD2 has been invited to stay overnight with a school friend. She carved out the pumpkin at the top last night – very impressive!- and is dressing up as a ninja. She asked last night about her loot bag and I asked where the vampire one was ? Hmm, felt the usual rush of motherly guilt and made a quick bag from my stash and a pair of old jeans…
Then made a pumpkin version for her sister!
Little one and I rushed back from gym today to get busy with her pumpkin. She provided the sketch and I had to carve… Meet Frankenstien!
It’s also dance class on a Monday so my 7 year old dressed up as an evil queen tonight ( complete with face paint!) and happily went along to dance disco and latin in costume. One mum had brought cakes so she was happy with that too. On arriving home, we realised a house further along the street had really gone to town with a skeleton hanging from the upstairs window…so Daddy took her along to trick-or-treat (which she’d never done before!) Then I put her lit pumpkin in the window and she rushed back to distribute some sweets to callers here. She was so happy to share her pot of sweets, even though it really seems like begging nowadays. I let her answer the door a couple of times before I shut the curtains and turned the hall light out. Most of the callers had gone to some trouble with costumes and the last lot, well, they hadn’t but they DID say thank you!
Hope you’ve had a happy Hallow’d Evening too!