Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Halloween 1990 vs. Halloween 2010

This year I went trick or treating for the first time in approximately 20 years! I went with the kids for their benefit (obviously!) but was surprised at how much fun I had! The last time I went trick or treating was circa 1990. Back then the supermarkets in this country hadn't jumped on the band wagon selling all sorts of paraphanelia from pumpkin costumes for babies to skull-shaped drinking goblets: it was no way as commercial as it is now and more up to you to improvise at home.
So the last time I went trick or treating I was most likely a witch, dressed-up in a black skirt of my mum's, a black jumper, a bin bag as a cape, some black face paint as lipstick and a homemade cardboard witch's hat. My brother was most likely a ghost (a white sheet with eyes cut-out) or a scary monster: dressed in black clothes with a simple scary mask. Once we were dressed-up we would venture out with a carrier bag (most likely Sainsbury's or Tesco) to collect our treats in and a scary rubber spider or snake as the 'trick'. I remember a lot of the kids in our village would use eggs as their 'trick', we never had any thrown at us on our doorstep but most mornings after the night of Halloween we would find remnants of egg and shell on our driveway. As for the 'treats', I remember one lady being totally unaware that it was Halloween and she said all she had was some biscuits and so we got a digestive each! I also remember one lady giving us a small box of cereal each! The rest I think gave us sweets of some kind, but what I do remember is having to work a bit more for our treats: a lot of the people that did open their doors (and some didn't) expected a trick before they would give the treat! This year when I went out I noticed that all the people that answered the doors were there with a bowl of goodies already in-hand.
My children this year were dressed as skeletons (and the baby was a pumpkin but she fell asleep before we were due to go out so she stayed st home with daddy!). All their outfits were purchased on-line from a well-known retailer (Tesco!) along with Halloween pumpkin buckets to collect their treats in and even a bat torch to take out with them. We went around our Close first and then ventured around the rest of the housing development. We quickly realised that the best houses to go to were the ones with pumpkins outside - as this gave the message that they were entering into the spirit of Halloween! There were some amazing scenes: one house had two huge pumpkins (home-grown) with excellent carvings; another house had lights illuminating cobwebs all over the house and when they opened the door the adults were all dressed-up and music was blaring - they were obviously having a party ! Another house had fake legs and arms hanging from their front door with fake blood and hand prints on the windows! I was truly amazed as to how much effort some people had gone to! My four-year old and two-year old absolutely loved it. It became a real game to run around looking for the next house with a pumpkin, and there was a fight for who got to ring the bell or knock on the door first! They both came home with a bucket nearly full of treats and they both slept like logs that night! Although I don't necssarily agree with all the commercialness of Halloween these days I think it is probably more fun than it was in my day!!

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