I've been trying to decide all week what I think about Halloween, and Anne's post has pretty much summed it up for me! I spent Monday and Tuesday this week trying to decide what I was going to do about the Trick or Treaters. I hate them coming round (it's a relatively new phenomenon in this country, they've only appeared in the last few years). Last year, when I lived in Lincoln, we had some fairly aggressive teenage boy Trick or Treaters round demanding money, and who did damage some decorator's equipment in our porch when we only offered chocolate. Even when it is small children coming round, I don't think it's right that children are encouraged to knock on strangers' doors and ask for sweets. We spend the whole year telling them not to talk to strangers or take sweets from strangers, and then encourage them to do just that on Halloween! Hmm, mixed messages or what?!
It also seems so commercial (presumably that's why it's now so popular over here as it's been heavily promoted by various companies) and an excuse to market more plastic tat at children (and which then mostly ends up in landfill).
The French seem to have the right idea, and, according to this report, Halloween festivities there are on the wane. Ah, if only that would catch on the UK...
Anyway, I considered going to the police station for one of their "No trick or treaters here" posters to put in my window, but thought that might just lead to more problems. Fortunately we had a Guide meeting on Tuesday night, and we'd already decided to go ahead with the meeting to keep the kids off the streets and away from knocking on people's doors. We had a good evening, with a party, fancy dress competition, apple bobbing and soup and hot dogs. The girls had a whale of a time, no one got scared, no one intimidated anyone else, so I think that was a success.
Being at Guides meant I missed the worst of the Trick or Treaters (although I saw some going round in a pack of about 30 as I walked home). I did have two lots at my door before the meeting, two little girls dressed up (accompanied by their Mum), who were rather sweet and very polite, and three teenagers (unaccompanied) who were also polite. They all had some chocolate (although I did feel intimidated enough beforehand to go out and buy a box of little chocolates in, which I resented doing). But I feel very sorry for those people (especially those living on their own) who did get the marauding packs of teenagers at the door later that evening. And what about the elderly on a very limited income who can't afford to go and buy sweets to hand out (and then feel intimidated because they haven't got anything?)
Dilemma: should I have bought the chocolate? By handing out chocolate I've encouraged the kids to think that Trick or Treating is good and they'll be back again next year. But by buying chocolate I've avoided potential eggs thrown at my house/windows/car (parked outside house), flour in my letterbox, doorbell being ripped off, marauding people getting into my back garden and overturning all the tubs...
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