Monthly Archives: October 2011

Anyone for some Jack O’Lantern Soup?

Jack-o'-lantern on Halloween

Jack-O-Lantern

It’s that time of year again… Another day when elderly and frail people up and down the land are sitting in trepidation, fearful of the onset of darkness as the day draws to an early close. But on this occasion, despite the lengthening of the evenings, (unusually) it’s nothing to do with a fear of alcohol fuelled anti-social behaviour, although that may well play it’s part. No, tonight the less robust in our society, never mind the rest of us, are to be descended upon by hoards of menacing kids.

Many a portcullis of our humble domestic castles right across the land will be subjected to incessant hammering, that or at the very least, some constant and heavy leaning upon the bell push. But all to what avail as we answer this call of undoubted urgency? As we throw wide open our welcoming gates, it is difficult to predict what we will be confronted with, despite some hopeful expectations.

On Trick-or-treat night we can be met with anything… From the cute little child (accompanied by Mommy) dressed in (often expensive) carefully thought out appropriate seasonal attire of the day. A shy child sporting a happy smile whilst almost singing “Trick-or-Treat” in a squeaky trill but friendly innocent voice. And all with the best (mainly American) traditions of the custom in mind.

Trick-or-treating: a customary practice for children on Halloween in many countries. Children in costumes travel from house to house in order to ask for treats such as candy (or, in some cultures, money) with the question “Trick or treat?”. The “trick” is a (usually idle) threat to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given. In North America, trick or treat has been a customary Halloween tradition since at least the late 1950s… (Wikipedia.org)

At the opposite extreme we are met with a group of two or three feckless spotty thugs dressed in bin liners, always assuming they’ve actually bothered to venture anywhere near the spirit of the event. They may grunt the required words but when challenged on the meaning they smugly answer; “gi us sum stuff mate or we’ll mash y’ur motor!”

Before the 1980s, the phrase “trick-or-treat” was little known in the United Kingdom… Since the 80s usage of the phrase has become more widespread, but is often viewed as an exotic and unwelcome commercialised import, with the BBC referring to it as “the Japanese knotweed of festivals” and “Making demands with menaces”. Very often, the phrase “trick-or-treat” is simply said and the revellers offered sweets, with the choice of a trick or a treat having been largely discarded…(Wikipedia.org)

It’s hardly any wonder that according to the findings of a recent UK survey; “around a fifth of people are in favour of a ban on trick or treating” this year (The Press Association). Having said that, I suspect the suggested link between the riots of last August and Trick-or-Treat, as mentioned in the survey is to say the very least, somewhat tenuous!

Suffice it to say, my particular gourd won’t be carved into some ornate grotesque source of light… Anyone for a warming bowl of spicey roasted pumpkin soup? 🙂