Posted by Happy Homemaker UK


In Ireland and Britain
during the Middle Ages on Hallowmas { November 1 }
 people went door-to-door in costume
receiving food in return for prayers for the dead




Fast-forward to 1895
for the first record of 'guising' in Scotland,
where children in disguise visited neighbors

performing a poem, song, or joke
to receive cake, fruit or money for their efforts
{ practiced later in Ireland too }

They carried lanterns made of scooped-out turnips
{ which was on the menu the following day }

First record of guising in North America was in
1911

Some point before 1940, guising evolved to 'trick-or-treating'
on Halloween night in the western US and Canada




Although this annual US event of
asking for candy without a performance was stalled
by sugar rationing from 1942-1947 due to World War II,

trick-or-treating picked up steam
with the mass production of costumes
and attention given to it in children's magazines and radio shows

firmly establishing it in American pop culture by 1952


Carving pumpkins is an American tradition, as pumpkins are native to America
{ and bigger than turnips }


'Trick-or-treating' in England is viewed as an American export
and not necessarily a welcome one

In 2007 the BBC News wrote
the 'authentically ancient festival' of Halloween
'has been hijacked by trick or treating' 
and cited
the 1986 House of Lords debate about
 trick-or-treating being not a tradition, 
but American for begging
{ Yikes! }

Do you know how many houses I've seen decorated for Halloween in England this year?
Zero




I believe Halloween is more of a dark occasion here,
which makes the older generations nervous about bad behavior
in a society that closely guards its privacy

Last year I saw 'No Trick Or Treaters Here' fliers distributed for posting on doors
{ but none this year }

To indicate trick-or-treaters are welcome at a home,
a pumpkin or lit candle will be outside the front door

I have to say, just since last year there seems to be
increased lightening and acceptance of this event

evidenced by more Halloween displays in store windows
and a whole half-aisle dedicated to bagged candy, costumes, and knickknacks




Although most English parents never trick-or-treated as children,
it seems to be catching on and their children are enthusiastic about it

Children's costumes are scary or gory
- skeletons, witches, ghouls -

nothing 'cute' like a puppy dog
and no Disney characters


Many houses have spooky 'fog machines'
{ well, ventilation for boilers, actually }


And I noticed their trick-or-treat bags are quite small,
humbly not expecting much
{ some Americans bring pillowcases to fill in the US }

English neighbors typically give one piece of candy or one coin

This year a few trick-or-treaters rang our doorbell Saturday
and a few more will tonight { Monday }

I expect only one-eighth of the houses on our street will participate
when we trick-or-treat tonight with friends




American readers are probably thinking
how nice it must be to avoid the heavy commercialization of Halloween,

but with no Thanksgiving in England
you can bet Christmas paraphernalia has been for sale since the beginning of October!

Happy Halloween, y'all :)

- all photos by me -

Source: Wikipedia 1, 2, 3BBC, Rampants Scotland

Linking to: MissElaineOusLife 

* Postscript: I want to mention that in the US, this holiday has nothing to do with remembering loved ones that have passed. Halloween is almost synonymous with trick-or-treating, which commonly is a festive community affair of seeing your neighbors :) Teenagers will go with friends to haunted houses for a giggly scare; adults may attend parties. Halloween has a really fun vibe to it and generally loved by everyone. Unfortunately the innocent gaiety of trick-or-treating may not have been exported with this American tradition...

***

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Happy November blogging, you warm autumn ray of sunshine, you

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