THOUGHTS OF A FRUITCAKE: By Carolyn Aldis
So, this week, children all around the country will be traipsing along the streets, knocking on people’s doors and asking for treats. The shops have been full of outfits and I have watched as parents have bought seemingly cute pumpkin outfits and pretty witch dresses for their kids…there are even mini broomsticks for sale, to add to the effect.
I know a lot of people don’t care about the history, or the spiritual element, but when you look at what is involved, it is a very odd concept
It’s all just a bit of harmless fun, right? The kids love dressing up and collecting sweets…it’s a tradition that everyone enjoys.
As usual, I have a different opinion.
The problem for me is the root of the celebration…not just the fact it’s a pagan festival, a lot of traditions at Christmas are based on paganism and I don’t have a problem with them. In my opinion, at the root of Hallowe’en there is an element of deception, suggesting that it is all harmless fun when in reality, touching on more sinister things.
The history of the rituals are disturbing…The Celts believed that on 31st Oct, the boundary between this world and the world of the dead dissolved and the dead returned to earth and created havoc by playing tricks on people and damaging crops. This gave opportunity for the local practical jokers to do their worst and blame it on the spirits…the people used to dress up in order to deceive the spirits.
I know a lot of people don’t care about the history, or the spiritual element, but when you look at what is involved, it is a very odd concept.
On a practical level, telling children to go and knock on the doors of strangers and demand sweets goes against everything we teach our kids…don’t talk to strangers, never ask for anything. The fact shops are not allowed to sell eggs and flour to teens on this day shows how they have abused the “trick” element of Hallowe’en…there is nothing funny about eggs being thrown at a house and thankfully it now comes under the umbrella of anti-social behaviour.
As the years have gone by and the outfits have become more horrific, I have resorted to putting up a sign saying “No trick or treaters please”. I can only imagine how frightened elderly people must have felt in the past, having their bell rung constantly and cleaning up the “tricks” the next day.
I like to reflect on situations…why am I doing this, what will it gain me, what effect does it have on others? Is it really worth going out when it’s dark, spending money on outfits and making people feel guilty if they don’t provide treats? It seems we fear upsetting our children by not joining in more than sticking to our usual community minded values.
I really recommend a break with tradition this year…put a polite sign up, close the curtains and watch a family film, in the warmth of your own home, with your own choice of sweets…if you really want to get a sense of community, invite friends to join you, or if you know an elderly neighbour well enough, invite them in, too.
Go against the flow and start a new tradition…