It is October now and of course this means that certain things occur. There’s the obligatory trip to the shoe shop for warm boots, wellies, and a top up of gloves, hats and scarves. There is conker hunting (great for kids and a worry for car drivers who now have to watch out for kids darting out into the road to grab that shiny just out of reach conker) and of course there is Halloween.
Halloween or All Hallows’ Eve is observed around the world every year on 31st October. There is some debate regarding the origins of the festival as some profess that it has links to Pagan traditions, particularly the Celtic Samhain, while others claim that there are links to early Christianity. Today the reasoning behind the celebration seems to have been lost in sweets, costumes and ‘trick or treating’.
Halloween is celebrated in a big way across the pond in North America especially. Over here in the UK, Halloween has become more established in recent years and everyone from the supermarkets to the schools get involved.
I am torn about this holiday. Lord Dodo, who has now gotten over that incident where some sticky candy got stuck in his beak last year just before he was due to speak at a stationery event (most humiliating for such a proud bird), also has reservations about the day. While he is possibly not quite as anti-Halloween as myself, Lord Dodo has however decided to perch his feathery self upon the fence and ponder the Halloween debate further as he isn’t convinced with any certainty either way about the validity of the celebration. Don’t get me wrong, I am no Scrooge and adore Christmas and other holidays yet Halloween simply doesn’t do anything for me.
As a mother I understand the excitement of Halloween. There are chocolate and sweets, pumpkins, bats and spiders and of course an array of fabulous costumes to choose from. There are parties and spooky cartoons, a whole host of art and craft projects to choose from and the internet is crammed full of babies’ bottoms painted as pumpkins. I get that it‘s fun for many, but for me Halloween has lost some of the glitter and I have seen a less than festive side to it.
Trick or treating was not something I took part in as a child myself which has perhaps coloured my perception of the holiday. Many see it as a form of begging and knocking on doors after nightfall could be seen as a nuisance to some. Despite shipping my six year old son off to the annual Halloween party hosted by my in-laws, I choose to stay at home and not answer the door. I have no real issue with the cute skeletons and spiders that roam the streets with a responsible adult going to door to door with their family, however I find Halloween to be something of a useless holiday -especially after the fifteenth teenager* has hit my window and threatened some evil if I don’t cough up.
I’m torn. Lord Dodo suspects that I am just tight and have issues with sharing sweets when I could keep these to myself(!) yet I believe that this holiday or event is just one that panders to marketing opportunities and really has no meaning. Perhaps I am missing the point so I’ll ask you all to shed some light on Halloween. My question for this week is:
Halloween, a fun festival or a nuisance that has had its day?
*Disclaimer: I am quite fond of teenagers as I used to be one once therefore am loathe to stereotype them. My opinion is based purely on the teenagers that I know locally who seem to be affected by Halloween the same way that a werewolf is by the full moon.