Halloween is approaching, a time of year I don’t like, in fact a time I hate!

It has become incredibly commercialised, like many other traditions and annual holidays, seemingly losing any link to its original meaning.

Halloween goes all the way back to a pagan festival, called Samhain. The word Halloween actually means, ‘hallowed evening’, and was previously known as All Hallows’ Eve, falling on 31st October. This is followed on 1st November by All Saint’s Day, both paying homage to saints. Both Christian holidays.

Up until the 7th century, All Hallows Eve fell on May 13th, but the pope at the time, changed the celebration to its present date, wanting to merge the pagan and Christian celebrations together at one time of the year.

Happening at a pivotal time of year, where seasons changed, it is also believed that the boundary between this world and the next became especially thin, enabling people to connect with the dead.

Many other cultures also share this belief, such as the Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur, where they pray for the dead, and in Mexico, Day of the Dead celebrations.

The modern idea of trick-or-treating originates from when people would dress up as saints and go door to door, singing or reciting verses.

5 reasons why I don’t like Halloween

  1. I don’t like Halloween! I find the whole concept of ‘trick-or-treat’ appalling and have never allowed my children to do it, even when they were small. Many people don’t get this and think I’m being a party pooper, including my own children. However, I’ve always said they can do what they want when they have their own homes, when they will be able to make their own choices.
  1. Why appalling? The whole idea of having to give something, otherwise you will be punished? What’s that about? When I was growing up ‘trick-or-treat’ was only starting as a tradition, and my Granny Horler lived on an estate in Somerset, and her front door was actually down the side of the house. She would never answer her door late at night in the dark, unless she was expecting someone. On November 1 each year she would have to clean off tomato and eggs from her door which were thrown because she didn’t answer the trick-or-treat calls. That is appalling that an old lady should have to clean up after other people’s children have messed up her property!
  1. The outlook of other parents. Several times I’ve had other parents haul me over the coals about this attitude of mine. One parent arriving at our door, actually called my two girls out of our home, telling them to go out and join her, and her children.  The girls, not surprisingly, being young, were incredibly torn between wanting to go or doing what I, their mother had said. They did stay put but I could see it was a hard choice. I was so angry with that mum who felt that her ‘way’ was the ‘right’ way.  Angry that she felt she had the right to interfere with my beliefs. For all she knew I could have religious reasons for not wanting my children to go out. People can try to force their opinions on others, without thought.
  1. I’ve never ignored answering the door for trick-or-treat and I do have treats at the ready just in case. Once though, a group of teenage lads were at the door and said ‘we don’t want sweets we want cash’ to which I replied, ‘it’s sweets or nothing’. They took the sweets. Again, this an aspect of the whole event I don’t like or think is moral. Older people can be intimidated by such approaches.
  1. Another time, a person came to the door wearing the classic, ‘Scream’ outfit. This terrified my then toddler daughter who went screaming through the house saying ‘Where’s my Daddy? Where’s my Daddy?’ Luckily, he was there, and could pick her up to comfort her.

I know recently, in some areas, an idea that has caught on is where people display a pumpkin, or a pumpkin photo outside their house, trick-or-treaters know they are welcome. It means that household without a pumpkin, who perhaps don’t have children, or where elderly people like my Granny, live alone, they won’t be bothered. This seems like a good move to me.

All I can say is, each to their own. I respect it as a tradition and that’s it.

Next week I’m talking about: PR Tips for October.–