a US import the UK doesn't need - trick or treat

andrew markworthy

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[I realise this is now untopical, but by error I didn't send this post a few days ago].

I know that trick or treat started in Europe, but until about a decade ago, the practice had largely died out in Britain, except for some remote rural areas where in-breeding is still rife.

Then, suddenly, Brit kids picked up on this dumb habit. Except that over here it's just unpleasant. The kids are either 4 through to 8 accompanied by mum or dad (what's the statement here? - we approve of our kids begging for sweets?), or are teenagers looking for trouble. Why couldn't we import a more agreeable American custom, like fast service or cheaper consumer goods, or sports commentators who know what they're talking about? No - we've just got to pick on something which pisses off 90 per cent of the population.
 

Rob Gillespie

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Yup, nightmare. At any other time of the year it would be considered an offence. You get the younger kids who genuinely are out to get sweets and have a bit of fun, but then you get you get slightly older, mentally deficient bunch who see it as a way to get money out of people.
If you have a big (loud) dog, just answer the door with it. Scares the bastards away in no time.
 

TheoGB

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My one-armed housemate in university answered the door wearing his knife prosthetic. He did automatically as he was half-way through dinner and couldn't work out at first quite why the kids had decided they'd better not ask for anything.

Personally I'd much rather ban all firework sales and restrict their use to public displays. Kids get hold of them and start letting them off at people or houses, pets etc. and it totally pisses me off.

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MikeAlletto

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Whats so wrong with trick-or-treating??? Just go buy a few bags of candy and give it out. Whats the big deal? People in the US see it as fun to see all the little kids dressed up and cute. And like to give out candy. But people in the UK think of it as an annoyance and rude?
If its just the older kids running around causing trouble it sounds like there is some parenting problems and its not the trick-or-treating that's the problem.
I don't get why you guys don't like it so explain...
Don't make us start dumping tea again

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Iain Lambert

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I really don't like it either. As Andrew said, any kids small enough for it to make sense giving them sweets are usually accompanied by an adult to ensure that the act of wandering around the streets late at night begging doesn't get them abducted, killed, run over, mugged or whatever, and the older teenager element see it as a legitimate defense for why they have attacked some old lady's house with illegally obtained fireworks.
Other than celebrating the pre-Christian festival of All Hallows Eve, it just seems that this is another day devoted to the spending of cash because otherwise you look miserly. I've got to admit that answering the door with a 12" bladed, coated in blood fire axe is a good way to scare the **** out of small children however.
 

Deane Johnson

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I'm afraid I join the ranks of those who think it's a dumb thing to be doing. Sending little kids door to door in this era begging for things to eat is not a good idea.
I've solved the problem at my house by just not answering the door. Let their parents feed them all the sweets and junk food they want to.
Deane
 

McPaul

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Didn't any of you guys see Big Daddy???? You BETTER be answering that door!!
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Michael Warner

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Man, you can take away every other holiday but leave my Halloween alone. I live in an old-school neighborhood where you know just about every kid who comes to your door and it's fun to see them all dressed up and out and about. Plus, accompanying parents are often treated to tasty beverages as they go door to door so everyone gets in on the fun.
If you didn't grow up with trick-or-treating I can see how it would appear odd but it's one of the very few traditions that hasn't changed much from when I was a kid.
 

Bjorn Olav Nyberg

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I think this tradition was more or less something candy facturers tried to sneak in, in Norway at least. Just a few years ago, it was a phenomenon we mostly knew through american movies, and all of a sudden, during these times of year, billboards advertising Halloween candy was everywhere. The act of trick or treating doesn't seem to have taken off though, at least not here. Which is why I also agree with Iain there is basically a ploy to get us to spend more cash going on, not so much a celebration of anything else. (Halloween isn't even a big holiday in Norway in the first place)
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MickeS

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I like Halloween too, it's a fun little tradition for the kids, and it's nice to see all those little cute outfits.
If you have problems with the fireworks, blame it on something else.
/Mike
 

Bill Catherall

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I used to enjoy Halloween. The costumes...the candy...who wouldn't? But I'm at the point now that I just don't see the point. I don't like to try to think up a costume anymore, and I don't really like to give out candy to begging children that show up at my door either. Unfortunately it's one of my wife's favorite holidays, and now my kids love it too. I like seeing them dress up. They always look really funny and cute in costumes. They like going trick or treating, but if I had it my way they wouldn't. But my wife likes to take them out and show them to friends and neighbors that we know, and they collect some candy along the way. The kids love it because they like to dress up in costume so they can be seen. It's a win situation for them too.
However, I love to scare people. If I had the money I'd start putting together some spook effects that I could use around my house on Halloween night to put a little fear into trick-or-treaters. Then I might get into the "holiday" a little more. Unfortunately, we don't really get enough trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood to justify even bothering. So while my wife decorates the house with ghosts, spider webs, and pumpkins, my whole reaction to it all is "Meh."
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Drew Bethel

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Not to mention the fireworks over here...it's been almost a bloody week and they're still at it in my neighbourhood! Will this continue though Guy Fawkes????
Luckily at a company function on the 31st...my flat is so small there would have been no way to watch the telly and pretend not to be home.
 

Julie K

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I don't like it. Maybe I'm just a no-fun cranky person, but seeing kids dressed up in costumes and begging for candy does not fill my heart with glee. Fortunately where I live, the policy seems to have become "No lights on - no trick or treaters!"
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Steve Christou

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Come on guys, have a heart, its the one time in the year I get to dress up and beg for sweets, and whatshername goes flying with her coven....
 

Ryan Wright

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People in the US see it as fun to see all the little kids dressed up and cute.
We do? I certainly don't. I feel like I'm trapped on Halloween: I either have to (a) turn the lights off and hide in my own home, (b) leave the house, or (c) hand out candy. If I choose (a) or (b), someone is likely to vandalize my house, so I'm stuck staying home and giving candy away. I don't mind the dressing up; in fact, I think it's fun. But the trick-or-treating is annoying.
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Vince Maskeeper

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The problem is this ritual is one from a dead era of emphsis on community. The modern era is well known for being as anti-community as possible, and the annoyance with actually dealing with your neighbors is a direct manifestation of this.
In my neighborhood as a kid, it was fun to see the kids get dressed up. The parents enjoyed it- it was a fun time for the kids- and good excuse to get out chat with your neighbors. The kids had fun, got some attention and got to dress up (not to mention candy!)-- the folks got to either stick around the homestead and see all the neighborhood kids or go out and see the neighbors.
It actually had several of positive byproducts. In my neighborhood, it certainly helped all the parents get to know one another. We lived in "housing development"- mostly lower income, and it was helpful for parents to keep an eye on each other's kids. It was nice networking to know everyone- and even for parents to check out the kids/parents at the homes you were hanging out at. Saved parents the time and akwardness of formal investigation of their kid's friends and whatnot.
Events like TRICK OR TREAT had a direct impact on the community and on the way we were raised. It improved the situation between neighbors and opened doors of communication around the hood that I don't think anyone even realized then.
Even now, from my isolated dealings with the neighborhood and children around holidays such as TRICK OR TREAT I feel much better about my community, I know people by name and feel I could approach anyone of them about problems or concerns. Even moreso, I find achievements and accomplishments of the neighborhood kids published in the local paper even more interesting as I know those kids from when they were growing up!
Also, as far as neighborhood safety and associated concerns- it's real easy to have problems with the neighborhood kids when you're some stranger-- but I've found that I've never had any problems... even from the neighborhood hoodlems- as everyone knows my family by name. It's easy to hurt strangers, but it's tough to act against people you know!
Again- as a community TRICK OR TREAT and other community related activities are absolutely a positive thing. Unfortunately, in the more modern era many people would rather be shot in the face than talk to their neighbors. I have experienced this in some of my neighborhoods- where neighbors wait and wait and steam about problems with neighbors until they storm over to yell about it. Rather than simply dropping by and talking about it when a problem arises.
Anyway, that was a bit of a tangent- but community activities are good things. An emphasis on community and community relations in the USA and beyond is something I think we're lacking. Not everyone in your neighborhood is evil or up to no good. Halloween trick or treating is a good time to say hi to your community and spend some time just enjoying what it is to be a kid !
In the wake of what's been going on in the USA lately, you'd think people would be clamoring for anything to bring them closer together! Something to remember that the people around you aren't at home brewing anthrax or blowing up buildings. The only time we band together is if we have a common ENEMY- which is a terrible way to live... it would be nice to see people band together, instead, around a common activity, especially one involving family!
It's sad to see this emphasis on NOT GIVING, not being generous-- that anyone, even as part of a holiday, is asking for something that they are out of line. Even worse, the idea that if you don't have kids it's unfair to be expected to give-- "I'm not getting anything, why should I give. Me, Me, Me." I don't plan to ever have kids- but again, I think it's an important community activity- if you actually care about having a community.
It seems like some of the people here would do anything to keep people OUT!
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[Edited last by Vince Maskeeper on November 05, 2001 at 12:36 PM]
 

Joseph DeMartino

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For my first 11 years in Florida I lived in a cheap condo in what is mostly a retirement community. (I had to prove I was over 30 to qualify as the principle resident, and the place was actually owned by my parents on paper, a way around the rules. But it was cheap and the area was quiet.) Nobody came to my door on the 31st, and if they had I probably could have handed out laxitives and the folks would have been happy to get them.

I moved into my house the week before Christmas 1999, so missed the whole Halloween thing in my new subdivision (where kids are thick on the ground.) Last year I worked late, trying to get things done at the office so that the decks were cleared and I could make the HTF National Meet in California.
This year I was delighted to find myself scheduled to work 10 AM to 11 PM down in Ft. Lauderdale. By the time I got home it was nearly 1 AM and the festivities were long over.
I'm already working on a plan to avoid the holiday next year.
I used to enjoy it as a kid myself, and parents who have little ones begging at other peoples' houses are pretty much obligated to reciprocate, but those of us who are single and childless would like an exemption from this ritual of constant interruptions by oddly-dressed urchins. (Had I been home I would have been watching the World Series and would not have been happy jumping up every few minutes to hand out candy that I could ill-afford to buy after almost a year out of work.) BTW, did anyone else notice that Halloween has now joined Christmas as a holiday the stores start pushing months in advance? I could swear I started seeing the candy and costume displays back in July this year. And, of course, the Christmas stuff started appearing while the Halloween displays were still standing. Thanksgiving may get squeezed out entirely between the marketing blitz surrounding the other two days.

Regards,
Joe
 

Julie K

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quote:
It seems like some of the people here would do anything to keep people OUT!
[/quote]
That assumes one is a member of the community in the first place. Try being a single female with no children living in a typical suburb with 2.5 children per household and where the mother usually stays at home. Being different is a quick way to be avoided. ]
I did hand out candy for a while, but I didn't know anyone and it certainly didn't lead to any community networking. The final straw came with some 7 or 8 year old griping about the quality of the candy I just gave him. If I gave out $1000 of candy a year, it still wouldn't open up the arms of the community. (Worse, they'd probably start wondering 'why is she so interested in children now?'.)
Being a community is a two-way street.
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[Edited last by Julie K on November 05, 2001 at 12:44 PM]
 

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