Who was that masked man?

Is your dog ready for Hallowe'en?

Hallowe’en is coming and the goose is getting fat… That was what we sang door to door at Hallowe’en back in Belfast. Tuneful? No. A seasonal song? No. On the scrounge? Yes.

Please put a penny in the old man’s hat… At some houses my mates and I were listened to once, then other residents would be summoned to the door for a repeat of our odd performance.

If you haven’t got a penny, a pound will do… And at many doors we were turned away empty-handed. Which was fair enough, given that we were no more than a bunch of chancers. Though I thought it was harsh to demand an encore before dismissing us for no fee.

I’m working nights at the moment, so I’ll not be there either to answer the door or to accompany junior trick or treaters round our village. It’s fairly wholesome. The list of doors to be called at is pretty much the same as the addresses of the large straggling group of door knockers.

Anyone else who wants a visit puts a pumpkin at their door to indicate that callers are welcome.

Each year one of the local churches puts on a Festival of Light party, as a Christian alternative to what is seen as a pagan, devilish or (even worse) imported American event. Oi! It’s not American. Or it’s at least as Irish as it is American anyway. Though pumpkins do seem to have displaced the turnips of my youth.

And to be fair to the Festival of Light organisers, they do put on a good fireworks show. Though their goodwill must be sorely tested by the number of children turning up dressed as demons, witches, zombies, etc. (I have a very cute demon myself. Or is she a devil? We haven’t quite established which.)

There are suggestions that trick or treating should be banned in some areas this year after the recent English riots. But happily, round our way, it’s mainly little children scuttling and scampering along causing damage only to their teeth and stomachs from the amount of sweets they hoover up.

Huh! Kids these days. We got small oranges instead. (Santa was keen on handing them out too. I suppose once upon a time – in the olden days as my children might say – oranges were more of a luxury than one of your mandatory five-a-day.)

For other Hallowe’en thoughts:

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26 Comments

Filed under family history, In the village

26 responses to “Who was that masked man?

  1. You’re right about Halloween festivities; my research shows this tradition began in Ireland.

    Demand an encore without a treat, no way!

    So glad there is still a place where children skip happily ’round to collect candy.

  2. We’ve stocked up with a few chocolate bars in case any Halloween kids ring the doorbell, but quite honestly I think families should keep their Halloween revels to themselves and not send their kids round knocking on strangers’ doors. Some elderly people must get quite alarmed by it all.

  3. Yes, it was turnips. And it wasn’t a pound, it was a ha’penny. Serious inflation by your time 🙂

  4. Miami -Dade County is not a very safe place for this anymore except in the more well-to-do areas. The City of Miami proper has roped of a 10×10 block of participating households to give a lot of kids a safe experience and some entertainment as well.

  5. Halloween is still alive and kicking up my way, but they have now set “hours of trick or treating”, and unbelievably, “rescheduled” trick or treating to Nov 3, due to the ice / snowstorm we were just hammered by Saturday night here. Also have a family of overzeleous, rightous, fanatics as neighbors, who think Halloween is for Devil worshipers.

    The two links were cool. “Saint Pauliegirl” was worth the price of admission 😉

    • blackwatertown

      You’ve been having it hard weather-wise right enough. We can’t postpone it here in case it gets mixed up with the burning Guy Fawkes commemorations on Nov 5th. That’s not so much my bag.

  6. When I was a child Halloween celebrations consisted of a dish of mixed nuts, extra fruit and to follow dinner (the second of the day) we had Tea Brack with a ring in it, and some pin-wheel biscuits. We didn’t dress up and never heard of Trick or treating! Ghost stories round the fire and the odd game of Snap-apple or apple bobbing were the entertainment for the evening.

    • blackwatertown

      Aha – you’re right – we didn’t have trick or treating when I was young either. We did have – and still do have – apple bobbing, apples on strings and a coin in an apple pie – though it’s not all palle this that and the other – donuts and jelly beans have been sneaking in to the bobbing – or ducking now too.

  7. i Never Realised It Was Irish
    .Here in Yorkshire We Never Had Until Recently……[.Thinking It American] I Have Tended To Look Down On It…….I Guess I Will Now Revise My Thoughts.HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

  8. Turnips?? lol!! Give me pumpkins anyday! Great photos…eyecatching 😉 Obviously I need to revise the plans to go trick or treating in wolf-form carrying a begging bowl in my wolfie fangs if I am to chomp my way through candy bars donated by awestruck householders!

    • blackwatertown

      It’s the one night of the year you can get away with it – your big teeth will pass for a seasonal disguise without people realising that they betray the real you.

  9. Is it not strange that Diwali the Indian festival of lights also just got over when in the West another local version starts off? The contexts are different but the underlying theme of victory of good over evil underlines both. Or am I being romantic?

  10. “Back in the day” on my side of the pond, we would get — and gladly eat — homemade goodies. If a child received that today, they’d have to throw it out for fear of something awful being put into. Our signal that trick-or-treaters are welcome is to leave the porch light on (put a pumpkin on your porch and it’s likely to end up splattered in the street)…

  11. Shows you how long it’s been since I lived in England. It used to be stuffing yer mum’s stockings with newspaper and pinching her best party dress to make a ‘Guy’ on Guy Fawkes night. Then bludging money from neighbours to pay for bungers and rockets before stuffing our faces with toffee apples and Parkin…..Halloween? Perlease. Actually we don’t celebrate it here. Kinda came and went and was all drownded by the Melbourne Cup.

    • blackwatertown

      Still have bonfires and fireworks here for Guy Fawkes – but hardly ever see a Guy. (Though there was one of a rival TV presenter in a place I worked – it occasionally received a kick.)

  12. Our little ones call it trick or treating now, but it’s still ye olde Hallowe’en begging we did back in the day. Coppers and apple dunking, with added fake blood. Every year Spurs Fan has to be reminded that he’s in Ireland, and it’s not an American invention!

    • blackwatertown

      And I bet they’d be at a loss if a householder answered “Trick, please” to the traditional question. “Go on then, show me a trick – any magic at all, a little dance maybe?”

  13. Bwa ha ha! Those were funny costumes. I never really do anything for Halloween. I don’t feel like giving kids candy. I don’t even know these people. I do sometimes have the urge to dress up as something, like a zombie duck, but then I don’t feel like it. Too much effort.
    I’m a bit of a Scrooge when it comes to Halloween.

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