2 Nov

I was reading on the t’interweb the other day about how Hallowe’en was evil. As a result, by dressing my child up and handing out sweets I was helping to perpetuate evil or something like that. Now, I always thought that Hallowe’en was when all of the spirits – good and evil – visited the earth for one night of fun and debauchery. Evil spirits were warded off by people dressing up as “evil” things and good spirits were welcomed with fruit and nuts and brack and the like. So the “evil” element of the whole thing was more prominent as it was more visible. Dressing up as witches, ghouls and goblins served a function. It warded off the spirits of axe-murderers and the like who might harm your family. Thus, there is a preponderance of people roaming around the streets in witch and ghost costumes on Hallowe’en night. Sweetness and light has a job when it comes to scaring away evil.

Then, November comes along. The month where Catholics, at least, pray for the souls of those in Purgatory (or the recently deceased). I won’t be convinced that there is no relationship between the proximity of these two on the calendar. We celebrate Hallowe’en and the next day we pray for the souls of the departed. Hallowe’en is NOT, in and of itself, evil. I do, however, find myself wondering what it has become in the last twenty years, since I last “celebrated” it. It was all store-bought costumes and mute kids with bags held open, expecting the moon and the stars to drop out of my candy dish. There was no joy in it. No excitement when their costumes were admired. Nothing. Just over-anxious parents crowing “Did you say ‘Trick or Treat’?”; “Say ‘Thank you'”; “Come back here and say ‘Thank you’!” ad infinitum. We gave out about 10lbs of candy and I resented almost every single piece, just because of the lack of joy, the lack of fun and the “Is that all?” attitude. I was glad the hubby talked me out of making hand-made treats – “Parents won’t let their kids eat handmade sweets, they could be poisoned or something.” (I researched this a bit, and it would seem the only kids poisoned by Hallowe’en candy were actually poisoned by their own parents!)

Maybe next year we’ll batten down the hatches, turn off the lights and have our own fun with the traditional games like ducking, bobbing for apples and the like. And next year I’ll be more prepared and I WILL track down the ingredients for a barmbrack. What’s more, I WILL have it  ready in time for Hallowe’en. Who knew you had to soak the fruit overnight and leave the brack for a couple of days before eating it? And one more thing, I WILL help the little turtle make a costume for himself, before he starts to think of such things as embarrassing or something. Me? The things I make? Never!

Before I let my snobbery run away with itself though, he did look good this year. October 285


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