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{22/10/2012}   I thought I hated Halloween until I thought about stews

I have never liked Halloween, never dressed up as a pumpkin/zombie/werewolf etc, never gone trick or treating and never enjoyed eating pumpkin pie (which my mum would make on the few occasions she felt obliged to buy a Halloween pumpkin).  All this pumpkin nonsense and the commercialisation is, as far as I can tell, an American invention and something I am appalled we Brits ever adopted.  Yes, I know it is a Christian word with (probably) pagan roots and that trick or treating is an old custom but  I hate trick or treaters, I feel they are glorified blackmailers (“If you don’t give us a worthy treat, we will do something horrible and scary to you.”). I also hate the fact seemingly normal every day food stuffs, etc, get daubed with Halloween pictures and ordinary things get Halloweened, for example “meghoul dates” or some such nonsense.  I guess it’s the commercialisation of it all that infuriates me.

I am ranting, I am well aware, but I don’t care because I have quietly put up with this nonsense in silence for years!  I hate horror films, suspense films, slasher films; basically anything remotely scary. I once had a hairdresser who gave me the synopsis of a horrific-sounding slasher film.  He terrified me and I had a bad dream that night.  I am not designed to be scared like that and it gives me no pleasure whatsoever.  So a whole day, that spreads into weeks to encompass the nearest weekend, that “celebrates” all things scary is just ludicrous and something to be dreaded.  And I won’t, won’t, won’t buy anything daubed with ghoulish pumpkins, spiders, zombies, etc, on principle and because I don’t want horrible things on the packaging of my sweets and treats, and certainly not my beloved Fondant Fancies shaped as mummies or evil pumpkins (they might not do this, but just saying)!

There may have been a few years when as child I felt a need to go trick or treating.  I have always loved sweets and I would have been driven to it in pursuit of sweets, I expect.  However, I have a feeling I was always too scared to go and I can’t imagine my parents being the types to to encourage the pestering of neighbours at night time.  I like the idea that trick or treating stems from a tradition of poor people, not just children, collecting soul cakes from neighbours as a way of praying for souls in purgatory.  So really it is a lot about death and souls, so the zombie, etc, thing and the fancy dress doesn’t come from nowhere, but I still resent this excuse for yet more commercialism.  Plus, I suspect financial treats rather than sweet treats are expected nowadays.

It also kind of merges with Guy Fawkes’ Night, though the death theme continues!  Mind you, I have now been reminded of the joys of apple bobbing and toffee apples so I’m kind of warming to the traditions of Halloween, All Hallows’ Eve.  I just wish the zombies and trick or treaters would bugger off and leave me in peace.  I think I would like it more if we all rejected the American jack-o-lantern gubbins and reverted to the Celtic tradition of it marking the end of summer and the beginning of winter and the gathering of warming winter foods and hearty feasts.  That’s not an entirely accurate or complete depiction of the Celtic history of Halloween but I like the idea of having a winter stew to mark the beginning of winter and other lovely warming foods.  Ah, see, I have gone from ranting and moaning to winter food and warming loveliness.  Hurrah for Halloween then!

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