BLAISE TAPP: Trick or trite – why are we obsessed by halloween?

Picture: Sean Locke Photography / Shutterstock

For those of us who grew up in the 1980s, there are many things which we fondly remember about our childhoods.

For those of us who grew up in the 1980s, there are many things which we fondly remember about our childhoods.

The decade which brought us SodaStreams was a time of huge cultural change. It was a period which saw the introduction of the personal computer, the compact disc, video games, satellite TV, not to mention it was the golden age of the microwave meal.

I feel fortunate to have been brought up in this era rather than the 1950s, like my parents were, as ours was a more enlightened childhood, exposing us to a rapidly-changing world and, perhaps most importantly, diversity.

Although not one of those 40-somethings who hangs on to that decade like a comfort blanket, I feel I got the best deal as I am currently benefiting from the digital revolution, which has transformed so many lives, but didn’t spend my formative years dealing with the pressures of social media at the same time as battling with spots and puberty.

I am also very grateful that I have experienced an age when we weren’t seemingly obsessed with halloween. While I do recall attending a halloween party some 30 years ago, I also seem to remember my Dracula costume being very much cobbled together – my mother’s old velvet skirt as a cape, some red lipstick smeared over my face – it was cheaper than fake blood – and hair slicked back with gel, rather like Michael Douglas in Wall Street.

Today, you can’t go into a supermarket, newsagents or even a pound shop without being overwhelmed by smart-looking costumes and spooky paraphernalia and the message has firmly stuck with the target market – kids.

In our house, the build-up to October 31 is nearly as intense as the weeks leading up to December 25 and it is not something I am comfortable with.

With Christmas, Easter and even bonfire night, the vast majority of us have a good idea what we are celebrating, but you would be hard-pressed to find anybody in a zombie outfit who could explain the traditions of halloween.

Despite my reservations, I have bought a pumpkin and, next week, will accompany my eldest when she visits the neighbours for the painful tradition of trick-or-treating. It is not something that I was allowed to do as a child but now local streets are full of youngsters armed with shiny buckets, demanding them to be filled with chocolate and sweets.

Back in my youth, when such visitors were few and far between, they were lucky if they received a Hob Nob or a home-made Smartie cake.

Thankfully, in many parts of the country, halloween runs smoothly and the vast majority of those on the streets adhere to ‘fright night’ etiquette such as only knocking on the doors of homes which display a lit-up pumpkin.

This approach renders the trick element redundant and adds to the sanitised feel which clings to this not-so-special evening. I don’t know about you, but is all feels pointless, and I have asked myself whether the 10-year-old me would have torn himself away from the A-Team to knock on doors to ask for biscuits and boiled sweets.

I think you know the answer…

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