Trick or Treat???


Trick or treat. Trick or treat. Trick or Trick! Ah, didn’t we all love Halloween as kids eh (and I expect many of you still do now)! Dressed up in a scary outfit while running about with friends, banging on doors in hope for sweets. Hoping that you will spook the hell out of everyone who sees you, when in reality they all think you look adorable- and none of them are afraid to admit it! Providing parents are ok with it of course, but nowadays most of them are pretty chill… Although there are always a few people who are rather uncomfortable still around the idea of Halloween, and these aren’t just going to be shy dogs or Grannies either! Instead there are quite a few people who not only dislike the thought of young children on sugar highs giggling at 7pm, but there is also a deeper underlying issue…

Religion

So Halloween originated from the pagan festival, Samhain, which originated from an ancient Celtic spiritual festival, dating back 2000 years ago. At the time this day was called “Samhain” and people believed that the dead returned to earth that day. Strangely enough, as Christianity spread into Celtic lands by the 9th Century, the Christian movement actually blended with the initial day of celebration, as the church designated November the 2nd as “all saints day” where “Poor people would visit the houses of wealthier families and receive pastries called soul cakes in exchange for a promise to pray for the souls of the homeowners’ dead relatives.” Later on, this practice was taken up by children who would go knocking on doors asking for gifts including food, ale and money. By the mid 19th Century, it was mainly in America where Halloween was becoming popularized, partly from immigrants fleeing from the potato famine. However the pagan roots of the festival can help to explain why some religious people are opposed to the idea of Halloween and/or trick or treating. For a start there is religious unease regarding especially current pagan beliefs and practices. This is due to the strong contrasts between paganism and mainstream religion; such as that often pagans worship numerous gods, while most religions believe in there being just one God. While others practice witchcraft, which causes a strong unease amongst many religious groups. This has led to some Baptist pastors claiming that Halloween has satanic origins, however not all hold this attitude. Meanwhile the Catholic Church has taken a strong view against Halloween with Pope Benedict claiming that Halloween is a “dangerous and anti-Christian” festival as well as Jehovah Witnesses and Muslims taking a negative view.

Consumerism

So another strong reason why some may oppose Halloween/trick or treating is due to where it is thought to have originated or at least been made big, and the factors associated with this. Basically a lot of American culture revolves around consumerism, which can be an issue due to how Halloween is no longer a festival of fun, but rather something that young children are forced into enjoying, when arguably there is little genuine enjoyment people can get out of consumerism. Furthermore many from different countries, even those western countries with similar cultures to the USA, generally dislike the seemingly dominance of American culture, therefore they are not going to want an American event to takeover a countries own cultural event such as Guy Fawkes night in the UK . But for a start just think of the amount of goods we see in shops each year, which are probably only going to be used once before being thrown away. In America, those planning to celebrate Halloween this year are estimated to spend about $92.21. And I would hope and imagine that not all of this would be spend on “candy” (yawn), therefore the rest of the spending is likely to be on overpriced costumes not to mention plastic home decorations which are most likely going to get thrown away once Halloween is over for the year! Bringing up concerns about the environment…

Meanwhile the desire for children to stuff themselves with sweets, could also suggest an element of consumerism- with people always wanting more. Therefore it is understandable why parents would want to shield their children from this, and instead do everything in their power to protect them from these ugly forces for as long as possible. Obviously parents are likely to be concerned about the health affect of eating too many sweets, although eating like this once a year is unlikely to cause any long term damage.

The General Threat

So you may find it hard to think how a few young children dressed in sparkling outfits is going to cause much danger. However we need to remember that “grannies” and nervous dogs actually do exist, therefore having loads of strangers banging on the door late in the evening can be pretty frightening. Of course there is also the fear of property being egged or worse, or usually slightly older trick or treaters acting in a threatening way toward some people. This can cause potential unease in a community, although it is important to recognise that these occurrences realistically are rare.

What my parents said…

So there are actually many other reasons why people disapprove of trick or treating, though I think that quite often these reasons can be based off what I have already noted. So my parents were strangely hostile to the idea of trick or treating when I was younger, due to the idea of it being “begging” (though it is hardly begging when a house clearly has Halloween decorations outside, rather likely advertising the fact that they are offering sweets), the fact that it is “American” as well as that it can be threatening. Looking back, I can definitely see where these views have come from, nonetheless I do not think that these reasons should mean that a child should not be allowed to partake. Especially considering that these reasons aren’t the whole picture…

So should we let kids go trick or treating?

This year, the answer is no (sad face). But personally I would argue that in spite of the issues linked to trick or treating, it is very unlikely that an average child is going to look at it in this way. Therefore should we prohibit children from partaking in something which they see as a bit of innocent fun and possibly something in which makes them feel more tied to the local community, just because we may see lingering problems further down the line? We also need to keep in mind that although Halloween may appear very Americanised, it didn’t actually originate there, and instead it evolved through many countries and cultures, adopted gradually for different people, by different people. Therefore any person should allow themselves and other’s to enjoy it. In my view, this could be done best by adopting Halloween to suit the person, such as ensuring that enormous amounts of money aren’t spent each year.

Published by victoriarose002

Hiya, I am an 18 year old blogger from the UK. I generally post about topics surrounding social, cultural and political commentary although I also aim to write some personal posts too... I am currently studying A levels, and as well as writing I like music, complaining and going to cool places. I encourage any comments, constructive criticism or any blog post suggestions. While don't hesitate to contact me at vickyyrose.02@gmail.com for anything blog related :)

10 thoughts on “Trick or Treat???

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  2. I agree with your opinions – each person should be allowed to celebrate Halloween however they chose. I’ve never been a particular fan of it, and haven’t been happy with the consumerist outlook that it sometimes encourages, but there are plenty of ways to enjoy it without spending lots of money. Furthermore, who am I to say how you can celebrate? People should just enjoy themselves however they can in these uncertain times (as long as it’s not at the detriment of others).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have nothing intellectual to say on the subject, except to recall a trick or treat experience of a colleague of mine a few years ago. After watching several children receive sweets at my colleague’s door, a teen-aged lout decided to give it a try. He knocked on the door. When it was opened by the lady of the house he said: “you got some of them fucking chocolates?” My colleague, a former paratrooper and Falklands war veteran replied upon his wife’s behalf. He said, “No. Fuck off.” Then hit him so hard that he sailed over the garden gate, onto the pavement outside. I wish I’d been there. ,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My goodness, sounds very dramatic and- yeah eventful. Although In my very modest opinion, hitting a teenager really hard, just for swearing is rather far fetched. Although I know that there are a few teenage trick or treaters who are nightmares.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know what you mean. I think watching so many of his comrades die under Argentinian gunfire warped him. He always seemed to teeter on the edge of violence. He knew that too, In the end he quit work and went off to live deep in the countryside.

        Liked by 1 person

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