It's Halloween today, but I think it's more aptly named "Beg for Sweets From a Stranger Day" as this, along with carved pumpkins, scary things, and dressing up is all people really associate with the day. According to The History Channel, the origins of Halloween date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). This was celebrated by The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France. However, it was the influences of the US that changed the way Halloween is celebrated to what we know today as Halloween, and it's only recently has this tradition become more and more popular in the UK.
Now. I'm all for celebrating old pagan traditions, after all, Christmas isn't Christmas without a tree, but Halloween is one "celebration" I'm not too keen on for several reasons:
- I don't approve of kids making a half-arsed attempt (if any) at dressing up and then going beating on strangers doors threatening for "tricks or treats".
Of course the little snots that knock on the door are never happy with tricks - they just want to fill their bags with sweets. If you don't give them sweets, they throw eggs and flower at your house and car, and stomp all over your front garden.
- Neighbours become neighbourly for one day.
Those neighbours who can hardly be bothered to grunt at you when you greet them in the street, now feel the need to bring their youngest darlings (who'll grow up to be the snots mentioned above) round to your house to beg for sweets. Why am I suddenly worthy of their time when I wasn't before?
I suspect this is a common feeling people have, especially when cartoons start joking about it.
- Begging is now suddenly socially acceptable for this one day of the year.
I bet if some tramp came and knocked on their front door asking for a treat, they'd have the cops on the phone before the tramp has enough time to turn his trolley around. I certainly don't condone begging in the street, why should I now condone it just because it's Halloween?
- Halloween suddenly instills a new level of trust in complete strangers.
Think about this... if I saw a child looking very cute in the street and offered it a sweet, that child's parent would be screaming "PAEDO" from the top of their lungs, at the drop of a hat. So why is it suddenly acceptable on Halloween?
Furthermore, who knows what I've done with the sweets behind my closed front door just before handing them out to all the "little darlings". The most "extreme" thing I would do is give them chocolate coated brussel sprouts, but that's because I'm not some psycho intent on harming children.
Halloween was never really celebrated when I was growing up in Johannesburg, maybe it was just my folks, but more likely it's because everyone was well aware of the dangers associated with wondering the streets at night, and they never forgot it.
I'm not trying to be a killjoy or anything, but think about it... why is Halloween any different from any other day of the year?
Oh, and I haven't even gone onto the waste of food - just think about all the starving people who could have eaten those pumpkins - the tramp who could have come a knocking, for a start :-)