Today is Halloween, which the shops are full of as the precursor to Christmas, but it is not a festival that has ever interested Joshua. He is not into fancy dress at all, as I choose his clothes and dress him each day, so I doubt that he would recognise that he was wearing anything different particularly. I dressed him in his bright orange pumpkin t-shirt last week for the school disco but I am not sure that he realised. We have bought and hollowed out a pumpkin most years of his life and place a candle inside to make a spooky mask, but it is not an activity that he has ever joined in with, it has more been for us than Joshua. He would not appreciate a horror movie or being frightened, so there really is nothing about Halloween that appeals to Joshua. But unlike Christmas or Easter, I am not sad that he is missing out on the fun of the celebration or the understanding of why it is significant.
It is said that Halloween has become too commercialised these days, and certainly the shops are embracing it as a money-making venture with their spooky merchandise but I appreciate the special window dressing that goes on. I grew up in Scotland and all those years ago, Halloween was good fun. I do not really remember fancy dress, but I do know that we would play ‘trick or treat’ on our neighbour: she would always choose a treat, we would sing a song for her, and she would give us lots of sweets as a reward. We never went from door to door of strangers, only to our neighbour who we knew well and as an elderly lady on her own, she appreciated the Autumn visit from a gaggle of children.
In 1978, we moved to England where the approach to Halloween was somewhat different. On our first October in the new house, Mum was caught out as crowds of children would arrive at the door, in scary costumes, expecting to be given handfuls of sweets. They were rather taken aback when they realised that Mum expected them to perform for their treats ,as she asked them ‘What are you going to do then?’. But she got the hang of the English traditions and when we were tidying out her food cupboards in the kitchen this summer, I found a big bag of Halloween sweets tucked in the back, ready for the visitors who came, so she was, as ever, all organised – though they were probably leftover from the year before!
Happy Halloween!…. we are now on the Christmas Countdown.