I hate Hallowe’en. I hate the way English traditional Hallowe’en parties with Apple-bobbing and ghost stories have been replaced by the ghastly American “trick or treat- ing”. I hate the rampant commercialism of the event with fancy dress outfits on sale in the supermarkets. And I hate the way our English celebration of “Bonfire Night” has been replaced by Hallowe’en. Mind you, which is worse: running around dressed as a zombie, demanding treats from strangers or commemorating the torturing and burning at the stake of religious dissidents? It amazes that me that two events – “All Hallow’s eve” and “Guy Fawkes’ night” are actually represented as children’s celebrations. Seriously? People encourage their little darlings to demand treats with menaces – even knocking on the doors of neighbours whom they may not even know. What a complete conflict with all the cautionary tales about “stranger danger”. And as a child I had absolutely no idea that the guy we were making with a pair of old pyjamas and stuffing with dry leaves actually represented a living being – Guy Fawkes – from history.
Maybe it is my age? Once upon a time, in the last century I used Hallowe’en as a stimulus for creative writing in the classroom. I believe nowadays that this is frowned upon because it is seen as anti-Christian.
So Tuesday is Hallowe’en night and it will be dark by five o’clock. Am I going to pretend, as in previous years, that there is no-one home by turning off the lights and cowering in the back room? “You can’t ignore the trick or treaters or they will ‘egg’ your front door,” said a friend with whom I was discussing my dilemma. No! I refuse to be blackmailed by rumours. I shall do as I always do: stick a note on the front door to explain that we in this house do not celebrate Hallowe’en. Then I shall unplug the doorbell, switch off the front room lights and retire to my kitchen with my sewing for the evening. And hide!