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!