31 October 2009

Tricks and only a few treats

I love Halloween.

And I have fond Halloween memories of my American childhood, dressing up in costumes, going "trick or treating" door-to-door in our safe, little neighborhood, and to parties where we bobbed for apples, and did "The Monster Mash."

I know that a lot of that has changed in these days of protective caution, but in some sectors, I believe Halloween still remains the joyous, goofy, play day it was for those of us over the age of 30. It certainly is in New York City, where the West Village comes to a stand still for the annual costume parade. 

The high jinks of Halloween also come natural to me, being a woman of the theatre, as such, I am staggered by how it hasn't really caught on as a concept in Britain. They simply don't get it.

Yesterday, I donned a white kitty cat mask, complete with fluffy white tail, and surprised the D.E.B. at work with a platter full of treats for him and his work colleagues. I thought it was hilarious, and he loved it! (And I don't think he was merely humouring his zany, American wife.) 

There was much speculation as to who or what I was meant to be: birthday kiss-o-gram or kinky fetish stripper? 

Last night, the D.E.B. met some friends for Happy Hour at the pub. For this event, I tried a more subtle approach...black leather kitty ears, instead of the full face mask, and no tail this time...

Bemused looks greeted our arrival, until I explained: "Tomorrow's Halloween."

I've been told that most Britons had no concept of Halloween, in the American sense, until they saw it in action, as depicted in the film E.T.  Good grief, Charlie Brown, is all I can say! 

Someone else suggested to me, "It's hard to sale Halloween to a nation of people who actually believe in fairies and goblins, and have houses full of 400 year old ghosts."

So, here I sit, bowl full of chocolates, and not a trick or treater in sight!

The D.E.B. and I are not doing the Monster Mash, but are instead off to a Quiz Night at the Village Hall. (I just may wear my ears..)
Where is the Great Pumpkin when you need him?


Lola said...

It may be a little sad, or even snobbish, but many of my friends and I consider the US Halloween custom of 'trick or treat' to be akin to licenced begging, at least for the UK kids who don't have the sense of Halloween fun that goes with it. I have been victim to 'tricks' that are no better than vandalism on Halloween nights when I haven't been at home. You can't just bring over the custom without the context, and we have a different context, so it just doesn't work in the UK somehow.

Having said all that, at this time of year we used to have the custom of 'Penny for the Guy', which involved kids creating an effigy of Guy Fawkes and wheeling him around asking for money. He would then be burned on the November 5th (Guy Fawkes Night) bonfire. I haven't seen a Guy for many years. At least there wasn't a penalty for NOT giving any money...

notfromaroundhere said...

The Charlie Brown Great Pumpkin special does not appear on the UK iTunes site, only the US one. So clearly this is one element of American culture that has not crossed the pond at all.

Random Thoughts said...

Has your DEB experienced an American Hallowen?

E said...

OMG! I know! When I was there, I went out and bought tons of Halloween candy, I decorated the house and make halloween treats. My british roommates came home and were like "huh?"

I think we got two trick-or-treaters that night. So sad.

My second halloween there, my british boy felt bad that his country was not up to snuff with my american ways and went out and bought me a pumpkin to carve. It was from sainsbury's but it was the thought regardless. haha At least we had a jack-o-lantern.

I'm glad you brought the halloween spirit with you! ha

debbie said...

When we lived in England I took my kids out trick or treating and invited my 8 year old neice who had never done it before. She loved it! She kept saying "these people are dead nice to be giving us all these sweeties"...lol.