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Thread: Hallowe'en is a menace - all trick, no treat

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    Elite Member TheMoog's Avatar
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    Default Hallowe'en is a menace - all trick, no treat

    All trick, no treat

    Whatever happened to good old Guy Fawkes Night? The Americanised Hallowe’en is a menace, and has scared off our traditional Bonfire Night fun

    Next Wednesday, if you forget to be out, chances are that you’ll be disturbed by some overexcited children from down the road, accompanied by their mother. The children will be dressed as little devils and the mother, hanging back with an awkward smile, will be sporting a witch’s hat. A handful of sweets – or if you happen to know that the supervising witch is particularly nutritionally minded, a handful of raisins – will usually be enough to send the giggling little party on its way.
    That’s if you live somewhere well-behaved. In my part of London, there will be no supervising mother, and the ring on the doorbell will be jagged, insistent and slightly menacing. What’s more, there’s always the worry that your offering of a bag of Haribo sweets will not be quite enough to keep the little devils from coming back next week with their elder brothers and demanding your stereo, laptop and 500 in cash.
    This “trick or treating” is all part of the spread of an Americanised Hallowe’en, which has pretty much wiped out our own version of seasonal mayhem. Instead of celebrating the onset of winter on November 5 with Guy Fawkes Night, we now do it a few days earlier on October 31. For weeks the shops have been full of elaborate ghost and ghoul costumes (whatever happened to an old sheet with a couple of holes in it?). What’s more, fireworks, once designed specifically for November 5, have morphed into “seasonal sparklers” and “spooky bangers”.
    How different it used to be. When I was growing up in the 1970s, Hallowe’en barely mattered. If, like me, you had a birthday somewhere in October, then you might find that apple-bobbing was one of the games your parents put on for your party, grateful to have found something to relieve the tedium of musical chairs.
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    And, before anyone hauls in the argument about Hallowe’en being essentially an agricultural festival and therefore not relevant to little girls who had grown up in the decade of Charlie’s Angels, let me tell you that this was rural Sussex and we knew all about the importance of marking the end of harvest. We just didn’t do it by dressing up as goblins.
    What we were saving our energy for was Guy Fawkes Night, which happened barely a week later. That was our festival of light, our end-of-season carnival, our defiant “do your worst!” welcome to the cold winter months. We spent weeks assembling our Guy from straw, stuffing and Dad’s old clothes. On the night, we burnt him in a blaze of glory (half-conscious that he resembled a scarecrow whose services were now no longer necessary) and traced our names with sparklers. Then, on the nearest Saturday, it was off to Lewes for the torchlit street processions, accompanied by rolling barrels of tar.
    These days you’d be hard-pressed to find a good Bonfire Night celebration, since all that seasonal energy has gone into Hallowe’ en. And, although it would be easy to blame it on cultural colonisation, the fact is that we gave the Americans Hallowe’en rather than the other way round. Our Celtic ancestors celebrated Samhain, their New Year’s Eve, on October 31, which was then tidied up into All Hallows’ Eve by the Christian church in the 11th century. Nor was tricking invented, like Santa Claus, by Macy’s in the early 20th century but was something that apprentice boys used to do on Mischief Night (November 4) by rampaging round town, knocking on doors and switching shop signs.
    The treating, meanwhile, is probably rooted in the old medieval traditions of hospitality, whereby a householder felt obliged to give succour to any strangers or travel-lers who presented themselves at your hearth.
    Yet, despite doing all it could to leech out pagan associations from All Hallows’ Eve, the established church still worried about the whiff of anarchic energy that surrounded the early winter festival. Which is why, when Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Parliament in 1605, prior to putting a Roman Catholic on the throne, he unwittingly did everyone a favour. Celebrating Fawkes’s defeat became a way of enjoying a proper community bang and crackle, while at the same time making it abundantly clear that God was an Englishman (it was, after all, the endurance of the Church of England that we were celebrating).
    Recent worries about giving offence to religious minorities probably explain why Guy Fawkes Night has increasingly been turned into Bonfire Night before being quietly phased out. Hallowe’en, with its roots in prehistory, is so culturally fuzzy that it is unlikely to offend anyone other than the sort of ultra-evangelicals who complain about Harry Potter.
    All the same, it seems a shame that we have given up Guy Fawkes quite so easily. November 5 is a British festival, particular to us rather than part of some bland globalisation. We may have given the Americans Hallowe’en but I, for one, would be quite happy to let them keep it.
    The real treat is for retailers
    Spending on Hallowe’en far outstrips Bonfire Night, mainly because government restrictions limit the sale of fireworks to a three-week window. Shops have cottoned on and push Hallowe’en instead. According to Woolworths, spending on costumes, props and sweets has risen tenfold in six years. In 2001, spending was 14 million; this year so far, it is a record 140 million.

    All trick, no treat - Times Online
    Fame is like a river, that beareth up things light and swollen, and drowns things weighty and solid - Francis Bacon

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    oh shut UP.

    Suck the fun out of everything why don't you.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Mel1973's Avatar
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    fun sucker!
    Kill him.
    Kill her.
    Kill It.
    Kill everything... that IS the solution!
    П(_)П
    twitchy molests my signature!

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    Elite Member TheMoog's Avatar
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    If we can have Xmas Grinch, why not a Hallowe'en Grinch? I live too far out for any of them to bother me but I thought the article was interesting.
    Fame is like a river, that beareth up things light and swollen, and drowns things weighty and solid - Francis Bacon

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    I average about 100 TOTs every year and none of them come back a week later and rob me If the writer is so terrified of children knocking on her door, she doesn't have to answer it.
    If you can't be a good example -- then you'll just have to be a horrible warning

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    Elite Member Aella's Avatar
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    I'm glad the only time random children knock on doors in Greece are little carol singers around Christmas/New Year. Most times I pretend to be out, but a few times I've told them "Not interested!" through the door.

    That's not mean. "Mean" is the replies I give to people collecting money for the church around that time ("Ah, see, but I'm a Satanist/I'd rather spend my money on more worthwhile things...like booze/Go away or I'm unleashing the hounds").

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    Elite Member TheMoog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaintTheTownRed View Post
    I average about 100 TOTs every year and none of them come back a week later and rob me If the writer is so terrified of children knocking on her door, she doesn't have to answer it.
    The day after Hallowe'en the papers carry reports what horrors this years TOTs have brought. Last year, one woman in London had her windows smashed for not answering her door. It scary for the elderly. I think some kids use Hallowe'en as a cover for vandalism and other bad behaviour.
    Fame is like a river, that beareth up things light and swollen, and drowns things weighty and solid - Francis Bacon

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    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    oh shut UP.

    Suck the fun out of everything why don't you.
    Once again I agree.


    *hunts down author and smashes her windows*
    Don't slap me, cause I'm not in the mood!

  9. #9
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Lets go TP her house.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
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    I remember what it was like being a kid and knocking on a door that wouldn't open. It's kind of grinchy and it sucked for me. I make sure I have candy every year.

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    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KrisNine View Post
    I remember what it was like being a kid and knocking on a door that wouldn't open. It's kind of grinchy and it sucked for me. I make sure I have candy every year.
    Yep. It is tomorrow here and I still have to run out tomorrow morning and get some candy. Any suggestions?? I usually just do the mini-'snack' or 'fun' size assorted candy bars.

    *eggs and rubs soap on the cars of the grinch article/author*
    Don't slap me, cause I'm not in the mood!

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    Elite Member Mel1973's Avatar
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    or ... we could shit in a sack and light it and leave it on the Moog's doorstep and ring the doorbell....
    Kill him.
    Kill her.
    Kill It.
    Kill everything... that IS the solution!
    П(_)П
    twitchy molests my signature!

  13. #13
    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sojiita View Post
    Yep. It is tomorrow here and I still have to run out tomorrow morning and get some candy. Any suggestions?? I usually just do the mini-'snack' or 'fun' size assorted candy bars.

    *eggs and rubs soap on the cars of the grinch article/author*
    I bought two large bags at Target. One had the mini snicker, twix and something else. The other bag has laffy taffy, nerds, chewy sweettarts, etc. A little variety.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1973 View Post
    or ... we could shit in a sack and light it and leave it on the Moog's doorstep and ring the doorbell....
    We've got Josie, the shitting machine. No need for us to crap in a sack!!! Plus, I could put those four cats of mine to good use. Nothing says love like a flaming bag o' cat turds!!!
    Last edited by Tati; October 30th, 2007 at 01:39 PM.

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    Elite Member TheMoog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1973 View Post
    or ... we could shit in a sack and light it and leave it on the Moog's doorstep and ring the doorbell....
    Hey!!! I just read this!!!!

    Meh. I have 10 cats of my own and muck-out the pens of fostered unwanted cats in my garden.

    Handling sacks of shit is all in a day's work for me!!!!!
    Fame is like a river, that beareth up things light and swollen, and drowns things weighty and solid - Francis Bacon

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    Elite Member Soth's Avatar
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    That apple bobbin' youre so fond of requires you to dunk for at "least 6 minutes" - we'll know youre not a witch at least - at best we'll have good compost for next harvest

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