Happy Halloween, everyone. Over here, the holiday isn’t widely celebrated; instead everyone gears up for Guy Fawkes by buying lots of firecrackers and setting them off all through the night, despite the fact that the November 5th is still nearly a week away. Interestingly, the fireworks here don’t seem to be the sparkly American kind that scree a bit before popping. They seem to be the trench-warfare, bigass kaboom kind that make you leap off the couch in terror and then shout things like “damn kids!” out of the window, because you looked pretty stupid jumping up all scared like that, and now your wife is snickering at you.
But it seems the day is growing in popularity. So says the New York Times in an hilarious piece that contains these gems:
Mr. Oâ€™Donnell said that when he was a boy in Scotland, he and his friends regularly went door to door, playing out an old Celtic tradition…The children did not receive candy then â€” just apples and, maybe, peanuts, he said. Since there were no pumpkins, they carved turnips.
Fifty-eight percent of homeowners in a recent survey by the Norwich Union insurance company said they had hidden in the back of their houses and turned off all the lights on Halloween, pretending that no one was home. A similar question came up last weekend, in a Halloween discussion group on Mumsnet… â€œIâ€™ve thought about removing the cover from my doorbell so they electrocute themselves,â€ one participant wrote…
Americans living in Britain are annoyed at Britonsâ€™ failure to grasp correct Halloween protocol, including the custom of raising money for Unicef. Many English children also persist in saying â€œHappy Halloweenâ€ instead of â€œtrick or treat.â€ Andrew Arends, an American businessman who lives in London, was horrified over the weekend when, as he ate lunch at a restaurant, two children in costume walked in, whipped out little boxes, and began trick-or-treating for money for themselves. This could have been a throwback to the old Guy Fawkes-related tradition in which children sat by the side of the road, demanding â€œa penny for the Guy,â€ but it did not seem that way. The children were wearing Halloween outfits. The weird thing, Mr. Arends said, was that the British patrons meekly handed over the cash. â€œYou would never see American children hustling for money on the 29th of October,â€ he said.