30 October 2010

Trick-Or-Treating In The UK

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

First of all, let me just say it is difficult to play my kids game of 'Unscramble The Halloween Word' when the word unscrambled is spelled incorrectly in the first place.

I have a hard enough time with this game, but throw in 'dlub' to be unscrambled as 'blud' (blood) - well, the kids think I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed. Hey, no fair! Love the kid moments :)

Isn't this fantastic?  {via Centsational Girl}

In the US, Halloween and Trick-Or-Treating are practically synonymous. Not so in the UK. Whereas  Halloween was created hundreds of years ago in this part of the world, Trick-Or-Treating is an American tradition that began only in the 1950s.

It has been interesting to see how trick-or-treating is observed here. My sense is the older generation is nervous about this childhood activity - strangers coming to their door asking for candy. It is an unusual  tradition, isn't it?

I think the dark side of Halloween has been the association with October 31st for a long time. I've heard many fear 'tricks' could be played by the children or by the homeowner - and I'm certainly not one to say if this fear is valid or not. 

Most of the parents with small children did not trick-or-treat when they were kids, so it is a newer tradition that is evolving.  In a country filled with so many old traditions, I find it exciting and fascinating to be part of a new one :)

{Centsational Girl}

So far I've learned we are only to visit homes with a pumpkin displayed. When we ring the bell, I think we say 'Sweet or No Sweet' or perhaps nothing at all. I'll know more tomorrow :)  The kids will be given candy, cookies, or coins.

Costumes are traditional Halloween garb and only fill half an aisle in the stores, if at all - monsters, ghosts, and witches. I've heard they think it odd to have a cute little Minnie Mouse ring the doorbell.

Another interesting element is next weekend is Guy Fawkes Night, which includes fireworks and the burning of an effigy over a bonfire. This event sounds dark and eerie to me, but I have been assured it is a family friendly night with games and bonfires at most schools.

I sense that having Halloween and Bonfire Night so close together can encourage bad behavior from some over the next seven days - another reason some are nervous about this time of year.

I often realize what is 'very American' only when it is absent. This is true for candy corn and peanut butter candy bars, which are only sold in the American grocery stores here. How I'll miss my Reece's Peanut Butter Cup loot from my kids Halloween bags :)

Tomorrow my little muffins will transform into Harry Potter characters and will celebrate Halloween and trick-or-treating with our fabulous new neighbors. Fortunately for us, there will be a lot of pumpkins outside the doors on our street :)

Happy Halloween & Trick-Or-Treating wherever you are,

XO Laura


La Vie Quotidienne said...

This was fascinating. I love that the kids say, "sweet or no sweet"...it sounds so polite.(-: The pumpkin carriage is adorble and I would imagine could be made with faux items. Happy Halloween!

Privet and Holly said...

Yes, nothing
transports me
back to childhood
like the smell of
all that Halloween
candy mixed up
together in a bag!
Since my youngest
is retiring from
trick or treating
this year, I bought
a bunch of candy and
we'll enjoy taking
whiffs and eating
it as we watch scary
movies, this year!
Fascinating to hear
about your Halloween
experience in the UK,
xx Suzanne

Make mine Mid-Century said...

Halloween is very strange in Australia too. We're going trick-or-treating this evening ... it's not really a tradtiion here, but it's taking off, more and more every year.

"Sweets of no sweets' is amusing.

You watch, word'll get out that you're an expert Halloweener and all the kids will flock to your place!

Raine and Sage said...

Yes your sentiments about Halloween in the UK are very similiar for Aust. However it does seem to be gaining in popularity. Another family has organised for two streets, including ours to participate, via an old fashioned invitation in the letterbox. So we're off this evening. Should be fun for the kids and I'm looking forward to befriending new neighbours! x

Happy Homemaker UK | Laura said...

That is interesting that Australia is similar to the UK. I wonder about other countries out there...

Centsational Girl said...

I absolutely love 'Sweet or No Sweet', I wish we said that! It was another fun night of Trick Or Treating here in America, with kids of all ages dressed in all kinds of costumes. Happily, my kids have retired to bed with their teeth extra brushed tonight !

Happy Halloween!

fairchildstreet said...

Hope you had fun. Halloween is not big in Australia some people do choose to participate though. Charmaine

ohabbyreally said...

I hope you all had a great night!

Guy Fawkes Night is seriously great. Bonfires, fireworks and jacket potatoes...my kind of holiday! x

Orianne said...

Interesting to learn about the UK Halloween customs. "Sweet or no sweet" came as a surprise to me, since the custom and wording of 'trick-or-treat' actually originates from the ancient Celts.

(I was prompted to do a little research on this holiday and its strange customs by some intrigued uninitiated little ones who had heard that in the 'olden days' when parents were children they went door-to-door after dark instead of 'trick-or-treating' at the school annual SPOOKfest.)

I guess as transplanted North Americans, we can't help but feel a little childhood nostalgia when Halloween comes around and I'm glad your children can grow up with a little magic of those 'trick-or-treating' nights, even if it's 'sweet-or-no-sweeting'.

Living in a country that doesn't celebrate our spookfest, Halloween was still celebrated big time via our International School and I am happy that my children have some Halloween memories of their own now too.

Irish children have probably the most FANGtastic time with Halloween as I understand they get a few days off school just to celebrate it. BOOtiful fun!

Happy Homemaker UK | Laura said...

Orianne, Love all your insights. They did, in fact, say 'Trick or Treat' on Halloween. I guess my 'Sweet or No Sweet' source was misinformed :)