I hate Halloween.
There, I’ve said it. I know what you’re thinking – “she can bore-off with her boring Halloween boringness” (or perhaps you’re thinking something more mature, which wouldn’t be hard). I just don’t really get it and I don’t like it. Bah-humbug, and all that.
When I was growing up I don’t recall ever going trick or treating – it was either too cold, too rainy, or I’d miss the latest episode of Byker Grove (one of the cool kids I was not). While it’s always been a commercialised little present from America, and my mates and I would be aware it was Halloween, it has certainly never felt as in-your-face as it is these days. As I’ve grown up (ok, not grown up….let’s say as I’ve got older), and children play a more important part in our lives, Halloween shenanigans seem to kick off around Easter. I exaggerate, but you get the idea. Wherever I go with Bear, there are costumes, masks, ‘special’ apple-bobbing apples, blah blah blah…
But here’s my problem (*dons Scrooge outfit*). We teach our children not to be scared of the dark, because there’s no such thing as ghosts and ghouls, and that it’s not nice to frighten or scare people. We also teach them not to talk to strangers, because while lots of strangers might be very nice people, there are also lots of weirdos out there. So don’t talk to strangers, right? And certainly don’t take sweets from strangers because, well you’re an adult (I guess), you don’t need me to tell you why you don’t do that.
Apart from Halloween. Yep, tonight all of these basic life lessons go out the window and we dress our little’uns up as ghosts (or, if you’re the 7 year old that knocked on our door earlier, a bloodied surgeon with a knife through his head*). And unless you’re sticking to your well-known neighbours, (and the aforementioned 7-year old wasn’t….we don’t know him…or his parents that waited at the end of our drive) we send them off to knock on strangers’ doors, scare the bejesus out of them and then, in a roundabout way, ask for a treat. And let’s face it, a treat is sweets or chocolate. If I gave the kid an orange or a yoghurt I was going to have eggs chucked at my house. It was even worse when I lived on my own – I found Halloween genuinely intimidating when groups of costume-clad teens would huddle on my doorstep throughout the evening.
*Fake knife, obviously. Don’t try this at home, kids.
But today we did go to a Halloween party. Two of Bear’s buddies turned 1, and so I dressed her up as a pumpkin (nothing scary about a vegetable) and off we went. One year olds aren’t scary though, so I don’t feel that I was too much of a traitor to my boringness and we both had a lovely time. Paul, who says I’m a right misery arse when it comes to Halloween, kindly suggested I could just dig out my broomstick and hey presto. But the best I could do was a Vileda Supermop and, let’s face it, Mop Lady at a children’s party would be about as scary as any of the ghosts and ghouls, so I didn’t bother.
Word has got out round our way that we’re well-stocked when it comes to chocolate (Paul works at Cadbury, it is one of the main reasons I married him). So we’re pretty popular at Halloween (not that we’re not popular the rest of the year, we are – I’m a hoot (in-joke there)). But with a 14 month old tucked-up in bed we’re doing the fair and festive thing of turning the doorbell off and pretending we’re not in. The spirit of Halloween right there, eh?