The Little Irritations of Life #7: Trick-or-Treat?

Halloween.  In a world of supposed technological advancement and scientific reasoning, it is strange how certain ancient traditions can still stir high emotions.

Universally celebrated on 31 October, the origins of Halloween lie in pagan, pre-Christian festivals, marking the end of harvest.  It is a day held sacred by modern followers of Wicca; it is a celebration not without dilemma for many Christians.

Thankfully, I am not conflicted by any issues relating to religion.  My problem is that I can’t stand all the irritating kids knocking on my front door when I am just settling myself down to watch Midsomer Murders.

Trick-or-Treat?  It would be nice to be able to blame the custom on Coca Cola, but unfortunately it won’t wash.  It sounds like a marketing ploy by someone at Suedzucker or British Sugar Plc, but that is not the case.  The fact is, the earliest traditions of a custom, which bears resemblance to our modern-day Trick–or-Treating, dates back to 16th century Scotland, where guising was a popular Hallowmas pastime.  Mummers would perform house-to-house, in the hope of receiving food in exchange for their performance, with the threat of misfortune falling upon those who failed to donate.

pumpkin 400

So, Trick-or-Treat?  Scotland invented it; the US made it bigger; and then they dumped it back on us sometime towards the end of the last century.  A bit like Rod Stewart.

Well, I for one am taking back control.  I am starting my own tradition for Halloween.  It involves dimming the lights in my house; not answering the door to anyone; and watching Midsomer Murders on mute.  I suggest a nation joins me.

© Simon Turner-Tree


Simon Turner-Tree is all for smashing pumpkins.

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