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Samizdata quote of the day

“Say no to horror costumes any time before 31 October. Get your nuts and apples and pumpkins ready for-Halloween night, not before. It’s time to reclaim the here and now.”

Melanie McDonagh

8 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Alan H.

    Say no to horror costumes any time before 31 October

    Agreed, ban buquas before 31 Oct 😎

  • Watchman

    Surely the extension of a festival is a good sign – it is not being done by government or a religion (unless there is something sinister behind all this), so looks to be a normal expression of public desire (note that it is not commercially driven, as there has to be a market for there to be a commercial driver that would work…). What is happening is that people have the wealth and desire to extend a holiday (or arguably even import it – we shifted our All Hallows holiday to November 5th and have now adopted the American one (which was an English one that got taken across the Atlantic anyway)) and are doing so.

    And people are complaining about it – this is good as well. Because people complaining is healthy, and shows diversity of opinions (and that people aren’t afraid to be different). Of course, suggesting the limiting of celebration of a festival to the actual festival date is the sort of controlling and interfering view of people’s lives that I guess all of us dislike, but suggesting it is a good thing to do… Who knows – people may even decide its a good idea and do it of their own accord.

  • Watchman, October 25, 2016 at 4:14 pm: “… we shifted our All Hallows holiday to November 5th …”

    No. Halloween has been celebrated in the UK and its constituent parts for a long time, via halloween parties and costumes. November 5th is Guy Fawkes night, a quite separate holiday that has been celebrated since 1605 (to remind parliament that their being blown up would have been a good thing, or so “1066 and all that” explains it).

    “… and have now adopted the American one …”

    No, again; the old festival never died here. The only thing that has been imported, via television for children during my lifetime, is the US “trick or treat” custom modifying/superseding the guisers (i.e. “disguisers”) UK custom. In the UK you called on neighbours (usually more by arrangement, not complete strangers) and asked for reward for how good your halloween costume was. The ‘trick’ element was unknown in Scotland when I was a child, and I know from others my age that it was similarly unknown in at least most of England and Wales. It was added by UK kids watching US television in recent decades. (The two customs are sufficiently similar that kids here did not perceive the ‘trick’ element as different when exemplars on TV did it.)

  • Gene

    Niall, I can assure you that in the U.S., or at least the parts I’ve been in for Halloween, the “trick or treat” element has disappeared entirely. In my childhood (1960s), one had to have some kind of performance to offer householders before getting one’s candy: a joke, or a song/dance, etc.

    Today, showing up is, to paraphrase Woody Allen, 100% of the job. Knock on the door, sullenly hold out your bag and get your candy bars. Verbal communication is not even included much of the time. In a not insignificant number of cases, the visitor doesn’t even have a costume (and is sometimes not a child).

    Halloween has morphed into a major holiday for adults today. At the time of my door-knocking, neither my parents nor their friends would ever even think about making Halloween a party for themselves.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray

    The sinister element behind all this is- Communism! Just turn up and get free stuff, kids! Am I the only one to see something like brainwashing and propaganda here?… I am? Just checking!

  • Gene (October 25, 2016 at 8:19 pm), what you describe in the US in the 60s sounds like a more civilised version of the custom: ‘perform for treat’ rather than ‘trick or treat’. In the UK, it was the costume, not a performance, that earned the reward. There was also more organisation – one went to halloween parties, and called on known neighbours somewhat by arrangement on the way, not on strangers.

    It was during the late eighties that I noticed that US TV and films (often re-shown here) presented ‘Trick or Treat’ as the norm and was therefore causing it to become the norm, despite some opposition from UK grown ups.

  • Are W

    Here in the Sonoran we also have the Day of the Dead. (Día de Muertos) I keep my nuts and skulls and cameras ready for them all.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray

    Here in Oz, we tend to copy the Americans, and Halloween is becoming popular. However, here in Sydney, we also have a Fisher’s Ghost Festival, based on a ghost helping some early settlers find the ghost’s body, and thus bring vengeance on the murderer. This took place in Campbelltown, now a suburb.
    Perhaps we should acculturalise Halloween, and pretend it was Australian all along, even though it falls on a similar day to Halloween.