/ Parenting, Travel & Leisure

Why I love Halloween

Pumpkins carved with hearts

To me, Halloween means dressing up, enjoying some fun and games and getting into the community spirit. To many others it’s a time to turn the lights out and pretend you’re not in. Which camp are you in?

Put me in a cauldron and cast a spell on me, but I’m going to say it anyway: I love Halloween.

My pumpkin has been sat in the cupboard waiting to be hollowed out since the start of the week, a few days ago I dug out all the Halloween decorations and I’ve been busily finding themed food and games online.

Admittedly, the latter is for my three-year-old daughter and her friends, but I’m not ashamed to say I’m glad to have an excuse to get properly involved in this spooky celebration every year.

Go and frighten somebody else

I’ve also got a few goodies tucked away in the hope that some trick-or-treaters come a-calling. I realise I’m in the minority here. Already this year I’ve heard all the usual excuses: they’re too aggressive and they scare old people; why should I give to people I don’t know; kids are getting lazier and greedier in terms of how much effort they make and how much they expect.

In fact, a survey by Quidco showed the extent of our Halloween misery. One in five said they’d rather pretend they’re not in than answer the door to trick-or-treaters. And a third will hide behind the sofa rather than give away any goodies! Why? Apparently they can’t afford it.

All this just makes me feel a bit depressed. There aren’t many annual events that encourage communities to interact, let alone ring on strangers’ doorbells. Isn’t this a great excuse to get to know neighbours and break down barriers?

Of course, I appreciate this isn’t always the case. Last year I experienced good and bad callers. The good generally involved kids who’d made a proper effort to dress up, were happy with two or three sweets to add to their collection, and were accompanied by older siblings or adults.

The bad ones, though, knocked too loudly (and too late), thought that wearing a mask constituted fancy dress and expected way more than I was willing to give. The ones that fall into this category can undoubtedly be aggressive, scary, lazy and greedy – and I’d happily not answer the door to them.

A few rotten apples shouldn’t spoil all the fun

But should they spoil the fun for everyone else? In the next year or two I’d like to start a trick-or-treating ritual with my daughter, and I’d hope there are some people like me who get into the spirit of things to make it a special event that she’ll remember. Contrary to what those Quidco voters think, it doesn’t have to cost a lot – I’ve spent about £3 on a few bumper bags of sweets.

And yet, if Seaford Town Council has anything to do with it, we could be stopped from ghoulish games altogether in future. In a move to crack down on people asking for cash on doorsteps, locals are being asked to vote on establishing a ‘no cold-calling’ ban within the town.

If they go ahead with the ban, Trading Standards are expected to investigate anyone who regularly defies it – which would include carol singers and trick-or-treaters. They won’t be fined or arrested but it is expected to put them off.

‘Bah ghostbug’ is all I’ve got to say to that!

Comments
Member

If my door is knocked on, I only answer it if its on the 31st October, any other night they get told to come back.
On the 31st, I green up all the front windows, have a big mixing bowl full of goodies for them to grab a handful of. We do get the odd strange people calling, that I’ve never seen before but its all in good fun.
When the sprog was younger we had duck apples and pumpkin pie, halloween parties, all great fun, luckily for me, our new sprog will soon be able to enjoy it as well, its important to show her traditions that I had when I was a kid.

Member
Phil says:
31 October 2011
Member

Hi Phil, we generally ask people to provide a bit more context when pasting external links, but as this story is so relevant I’ve published the link. Here’s an excerpt to give a taster of what it’s about:

“One in five people would support a ban on trick or treating this year in light of the recent riots in cities across England, according to a survey.

Some 22% took the view that the tradition should not take place this year, while 50% would introduce mandatory parental accompaniment.”

Member
cmf0530 says:
31 October 2011

I am British but spent my childhood living in the states and I can’t think of a more imaginative and community based holiday. In the states, Halloween is about meeting your neighbours, being creative with costumes and just having fun getting in the spirit of the holidays. I am sorry for the man who had bleach thrown on him, that’s horrible and I hope you reported it to the police. Let’s hope it was an isolated incident and imagine not all children today act like this.

I have very fond memories of Halloween and if you have children, it’s a great way to get them involved with arts and craft activities and learning based events in your neighbourhood. Yes, there are pros and cons to Halloween, and if you are going out with your children you should be safe and of course be respectful to those who may not want to participate.

In my mind it’s a harmless holiday however I do agree with many of the complaints above. You will find rotten kids out there and if you don’t live in a neighbourhood you feel safe to participate, don’t open your door. Why not go out for the night or post a sign on your door that says ‘no more candy’ or ‘no trick-or-treaters please’. Simple as that.

I am in my late twenties now and don’t go out trick-or-treating or dress up but I don’t think we shouldn’t provide the same opportunity to the next generation. And if you can’t come to terms with this American Hallmark money-making holiday, just remember… it’s just one night.

Member

I can completely see why some people hate halloween – there are many things these days that are genuinely scary about it. Eric’s example is a horrible and extreme example of this. I’m completely with Hannah on this that behaviour of that sort should absolutely be reported to the police.

However, I think there are situations in which Halloween can be done as a nice celebration of community, as Hannah says. But the key thing is to make sure that people in your community are prepared. When I was very young (about 6 or 7, I think) a family of Americans moved onto our road and were determined to do Halloween properly. They knocked on the doors of the houses (around half of whom had children) and concocted a plan with homes that wanted to take part. They then arranged different things with those houses (e.g. my mum dressed up as a witch and had a cauldron full of shredded newspaper, with a ‘lucky dip’ of sweets, someone else made hot chocolate for the end of the trick or treating).

It was a really nice event – everyone who wanted to join in could, and we made sure not to knock on the houses who had asked us not to. It was a really fun evening, with about 10 houses agreeing to take part – all of them made an effort (as did we children!) and it was a lovely, fun way to meet our neighbours and celebrate a bit of a silly holiday.

I’d be all in favour of joining in if families along my street wanted to do this, and I’d happily contribute a few sweets (or perhaps some cupcakes – I love making cupcakes!) to children who came to the door. But sadly I suspect that if I do get any callers they’re far more likely to be teenagers in last-minute masks, in which case they’ll get a ‘sorry’ and a closed door from me.

Member
justin bieber says:
31 October 2014

i hate halloween because people sock you in the face and murder you

Member
anonymous lady says:
18 October 2017

How dare you!!

Member
N Luv With Halloween says:
27 October 2017

Halloween is for community gatherings and sweet treats for our children. And if some wannabe Justin Bieber says its bad, who cares.