I think I posted a near identical blog last year about how much I hate Halloween. I don’t mind people having parties, themed parties, I don’t mind people dressing up – it is completely up to them and it’s probably fun, and I guess if I was a child or teenager I might want to do the same. I very much like the idea of traditional food and some of the old customs to mark the change of seasons, and to echo the old, old celebrations of Samhain… so what is it that I hate about it?
I hate the fact that a lot of the trappings, the buying of costumes, the shops full of Halloween themed things, are just sheer commercialisation and trying to make money out of a tradition which has been imported from somewhere else. Pumpkins in windows? Trick or treating? That’s not one of our traditional customs… a hundred years ago in some parts of Britain youngsters would go out ‘guising’ but when some child knocks on my door dressed as a witch what am I supposed to do? I know in theory I’m, supposed to give them money or sweets… but why? I know I’ll sound a real grumpy old git when I say, we didn’t do that when I was young… well we didn’t, and I don’t know of anyone who did. We might have Halloween parties in our homes, with traditional food and party games such as bobbing for apples, but going round the streets was associated with Guy Fawkes Night – Bonfire Night, which may be a seventeenth century custom grafted onto the old Samhain celebrations,
Bonfire Night is our traditional end of season, going-into-autumn fling! On bonfire night we have toffee-apples, and Parkin (gingerbread) and chestnuts, and sausages and chestnuts, and we drink hot spiced punch and we burn a figure on a bonfire which has been built by collecting firewood from the locality, and we set off fireworks and run around scaring each other in the dark!
I find a lot of the modern costumes repellent and lacking in taste… all the wounds and bandages and missing limbs and blood… what is that to do with witches and spirits and ghosties? Halloween? I hate it!