On the 31st October it is Halloween, also known as All Hallows Night. It has a religious connotation as remembering All Saints. If you look back far into the annals of time, it is likely that a Pagan festival may have been overlain by the religious one.
There is a ghoulish emphasis on the celebration. It's
the night when it is said ghosts and ghouls are around. Shops have their windows
dressed with witches flying on broomsticks, there are skeletons in
cloaks with deathly masks, and pumpkins have their flesh scooped out and
faces cut into them. A candle is placed inside. They can be found
lighting doorsteps, or, they may be on a windowsill, or, carried from house to house by
tricksters and treaters who are dressed up in dark costumes with a
variety of devilish or skeletal designs. Trick and treat is the
entertainment on offer to whoever answers the knock at the door. They
may tell a themed joke, a little scary story, or, recite a ghostly
poem. if you're lucky, you may be entertained to a skeleton dancing:
these are the tricks; in return, you treat, say, give a peanut or two,
or a sweet.
The children who were here on our street, who entertained us over the years, have all grown up, the majority have moved away. I am not
sure what the two little boys down the road do, if anything. Their
grandparents live next door, an aunty and her young family live about
half a mile away. Maybe they keep it in the family, like our young ones
Last night we had a knock at the door about 8pm.
There were two rather tall ghosts on the step. I admit, I did not
recognise them nor their voices, that is, till one said, "Ooh it's cold
out here." it was, and... "the others are coming up shortly." I
puzzled over who the second one was. Then a little one arrived, mask in
hand, no problem recognising him. He was soon followed by two slightly
taller ones, one introduced as "This is my friend." In they went,
that made five kids. Another knock, revealed a really tall person, who,
thankfully lifted his mask....not who I thought it was, but a parent all
dressed up. I dashed into the kitchen to add another two bags of
treats to the three family ones I had prepared earlier, when the
doorbell sounded again... it was certainly a busy night with ghouls and
ghosties. You could have knocked me back with a feather, there were two
'witches' on the doorstep, one looking drop dead gorgeous!!!
Dash back to the kitchen while
all the macabre people chatted amongst themselves. Thank heavens I had
made pop-corn earlier, lightly flavoured with a dusting of vanilla
sugar. Add a biscuit to each treat pack, a mix of Halloween foil wrapped
sweets, and an orange, and they were ready to give. Not though, before
the kids had all done their tricks. The grown up ghoul and witches
benignly looked on.
And just in case anyone else flew in on a broomstick, there were a few sweeties left and some biscuits, all in a small basket.