Tricks, treats and an annual dilemma

Carolyn Aldis
Carolyn Aldis
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So, with Halloween on Monday, Facebook became a deluge of scary faces, covered in heavy makeup…although, to be fair, that could be any given day (eyebrows disturb me). It seems we become more Americanised with every passing year, more hideous outfits, more decorations, more candy…

I’m left with the same debate every year- do I answer the door and give sweets out, thus implying that I celebrate Halloween or do I put up a sign saying “No trick or treaters please” and risk broken eggs and other anti-social behaviour…or do I just close the curtains and watch a film with my family and take the batteries out of my bell?

In the past, the various churches that I have belonged to have put on a “Light” party, a place where children can dress up in their favourite non-scary outfit and play games, have food and fun together…I like the idea of this, but it doesn’t solve the problem of how to deal with trick or treaters on the doorstep.

In the end, we decided to do something different; we made up party bags with sweets in and cards with some positive words from the bible written on them.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were more evenings where we all come together and chat to people we don’t normally speak to? If, during the summer months, we opened our front doors and shared out ice lollies, while chatting, or had a cup of tea and a cake while finding out what we have in common, building a sense of community in our town and getting to know others from different backgrounds, countries and religions.

Years ago, when I was in my teens, the church I went to had a group that went carol singing for fun, giving out large bars of chocolate to every home, just to say Happy Christmas…I used to go along and play my piano accordion (not particularly well, but it was loud and therefore handy as no PA was required). It was lovely to see the older generation peer out and come to the door and enjoy our music, often bringing out a mince pie and hot drink to warm us up…I wish that tradition had continued as it seems more inclusive than Halloween and has none of the nasty surprises that are associated with it.

My sister-in-law happened to be out walking her terrier on Halloween night and was approached by three teenage youths, who said “Trick or treat? We have a water-filled balloon!”

She smiled and answered “Good for you. I have a bag of dog poo…I think that out trumps you.”

Funnily enough, they walked away…

There were a few callers at my door, in simple outfits, which was good as I could see who I was talking to and enjoyed giving them a treat. The only disturbing thing that affected us all that night, was the sight of a young lad on our doorstep, apparently alone.

Halloween over for another year, there is now room for “The most wonderful time of the year…”

I think I might dust off my accordion…