Saturday, 31 October 2009


Hallowe'en was never a huge event in my childhood; partly due to other family occasions falling at the same time, partly because Guy Fawkes Night was celebrated more overtly, and partly because it just wasn't seen as anything particularly special.

But in my adulthood it has taken on more meaning, partly of my own choosing, partly thrust upon me by society. This Hallowe'en, having largely escaped it in recent years, I had the experience of "trick-or-treaters" coming to my door. Now, whilst I'm not so curmudgeonly as to not go along with the tradition, my feelings towards trick-or-treating is now much more clean-cut: it is essentially glorified begging. The children in question come to your door, ring or knock, utter a three word phrase as half-heartedly as they like and expect a reward for this. If the treat in question was issued for particular effort in the costumes, and this was something understood by the children going from door to door, then I wouldn't mind so much. But some of the children I had to hand out sweets to this evening hadn't even bothered to dress up (unless they had decided to dress as chavs or, in one case where the costume consisted of a scarf covering the child's lower face, a petty criminal). A few even decided that it was okay to trample over our front lawn to peer gormlessly through our front window at the carved pumpkins that resided therein. In principle I would have given them nothing at all because of this. In practice they received one sweet each instead of two. The reason? If you don't "treat", you run the risk of a "trick", which usually consists of some form of vandalism. So maybe I was wrong to compare trick-or-treating to begging. In some ways it's more like blackmail. Give me some sweets for doing nothing or I'll damage something belonging to you. Maybe I'm one of the less tolerant people when it comes to trick-or-treating, so I'd be interested in the views of others, but to me it seems like a deplorable practice that either needs to be dragged up to an acceptable level or got rid of completely.

Anyway, that was my Hallowe'en low. My Hallowe'en high was for the first time attempting some proper pumpkin carving, as mentioned previously. Not just hacking a lop-sided face into the side of a hollowed out fruit, but actually trying to make it look good. And I think I did pretty well. I certainly enjoyed it, and it's something I'll definitely look forward to doing again this time next year.

My pumpkin carving effort, with the help of a carving kit with patterns. I followed the pattern for a skull for the most part, but also improvised a bit. For a first attempt I'm pretty impressed with how it came out.

1 comment:

TheTelf said...

Skull-pumpkin looks pretty awesome.

I remember one year my dad refused to give sweets to a bunch of kids who hadn't bothered to dress up - the result: egg all over the front door. Hurrah for modern times.

And me and my brother weren't aloud to trick-or-treat as children, and now I'm glad that my parents made that decision for us.