Saturday, 1 November 2014

Too Cool For Ghoul? My thoughts on trick or treating....

Trick or treating

As with most of the holidays celebrated,  Hallowe'en in our family is thoroughly enjoyed by all of the children...we are visiting my parents in Liverpool this year as we do every year, as my mum has thrown a children's Halloween party every year ever since I can remember.

 Costumes will be worn, the house will be decorated inside and out, "witches broth" will be eaten, games will be played and some trick or treating will be enjoyed.

Unfortunately, as with every holiday, there are always the killjoys.

The ones who, though on blatant view in their windows, won't open the door to the excited gaggle of small children outside....of course I understand that some people are afraid of Halloween, the elderly or vulnerable might not wish to answer for safety reasons, some people don't celebrate it for religious reasons....and that's fine!....but I'm not talking about those people.

Sadly these days so many people are just outright Scrooges - there's nothing actually stopping them from getting involved, they're not afraid of it or against it for any real reason...they are just being miserable.

I understand that some people just "aren't into it", don't like children (a concept I have no respect for personally given that we were all children once...), etc etc....

But so many people these days seem to take some kind of pride in being miserable.

You see their Facebook statuses, almost bragging about how they're hiding with their lights out to avoid trick or treaters...really?! You really can't go to all the effort of opening the door and handing out a few cheap sweets to some excited kids just trying to have fun and make memories?! 

Well Boo...I don't think that makes you cool or funny, I think that makes you a downright bore!

You get these people at every holiday of course...they're often the same people who start whining when Christmas lights go up early or Christmas music starts playing in stores "too soon"...
 Each to their own I guess but personally? I can't stand those people. I have a problem finding the ability to like people who can find something to whine about in something like Christmas. (Again, I get that religious reasons, money concerns and bad experiences can be an issue and I can let those things slide....but the outright Scrooges? I have no time for that....)

The way I see it ... Life would be pretty bleak without celebration and that's what these holidays are.

A chance to do something a bit different to what you do every other day of your life...a chance to have different experiences, a chance to let loose and have fun.

To me, life should be enjoyed and celebrated and there is no better time to fully immerse yourself in that than along with the majority of your society during holidays.

And I believe it's very important to encourage that enjoyment and celebration in children.

Beyond the people who are simply scrooge-like when it comes to these festivities, you get the ones who take it further...

The ones who take issue with the concept of "trick or treating"... In recent years its become somewhat fashionable to disallow your children to take part because you "don't agree with begging" ...I've lost count of how many people I've heard say they won't do it for that reason....

Another common reason I`ve heard is "Its an American holiday..."

Well I'm sorry, but what a crock of BS!

Trick or treating dates back in the UK to the late Ireland and England the custom seems to have begun as "souling" ...a Christian tradition where children would knock at their neighbours doors and offer prayers and songs for the dead, in return for those offerings they would be rewarded with a treat called "soul cake".

Much like Christmas Carolling...a service of sorts is offered in return for a little gesture of appreciation for the act.

But I suppose these same people would see Carolling as begging too?

It saddens me to think of such traditions dying out...Christmas carolling is much rarer now than it used to be, when I was a child there was no harm seen in Penny For The Guy...but the killjoy crew took that one and labelled it "begging" too and now you see far less of it....

I guess I just find it sad.

So many of my happiest childhood memories involve Halloween - my cousins and I would enjoy a party together ever year and now our children go to that same party.

Even now, my cousins and I regularly share photos of our past hallowe'ens with each other on social media and laugh at our costumes or reminisce about various things that would happen.

It, along with Christmas, bonfire night and Easter, were never allowed to pass by uncelebrated in our family and I'm so grateful that I grew up in a family so intent on enjoying life and celebrating every single event with enthusiasm...I see that as an enthusiasm for life itself and I can't think of a better trait to pass on to children.

I can't help but get the impression that many people today see their children as too good to go "begging for sweets"....well sure, there's not many of us who would allow our kids to go knocking on neighbours doors asking for sweets on just any old day...but partaking in and enjoying a Halloween tradition is surely different.

As long as you're parenting well enough to manage to teach your child the difference between the two, and that only on Halloween when accompanied by an adult is it safe and acceptable to knock on doors and take candy ....what's the problem?

Of course it does depend on where you live -  I`m not sure if I`d feel quite as comfortable with it if we were knocking on strangers doors but where our children go trick or treating we know everybody in the houses they call at, its a small village where everybody has known each other for years so there are no nasty surprises lurking behind the doors - and of course I would NEVER send children out to trick or treat unaccompanied, there is always at least two adults with our children when they go out to Trick or Treat.

But as long as these safety measures are taken and you explain to children that they are only allowed to take treats from people on Halloween when an adult is with them, what's the harm?

I will certainly be ensuring that my children enjoy Halloween (trick or treating included) and every other holiday my family celebrate, and I hope they have some of those wonderful memories that I have and grow up to still enjoy them and be as excited by these silly fun parts of life as I still am as an adult.

I can't help but feel a little sad for the children whose parents are "too cool for ghoul!"...

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