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The Trouble With Halloween

Posted by School Run Mum on 26/10/2011. Tags: School Run Mum Parenting

text re imageIs it just me or has Halloween gone a bit mad? The word 'Halloween' is actually an abbreviation of ‘All Hallows Eve’ i.e. the evening before All Hallows Day (or All Saints Day as it is now known, November 1st). But witches have been staring at me since the start of October. With the kids waiting desperately for their stash of 'Trick or Treat' sweets and more flashing lights outside the shops and houses than at Christmas time, I'm starting to wonder if we've forgotten what this occasion is all about with very little magic or mystery left.

Personally, I'd love to see a return to the more traditional Halloween I remember as a child to remind our own children what Halloween is about. Bedshseets made into ghosts, pumpkins and turnips carved into lanterns and traditional games. Some games I remember as a child are:

Apple Bobbing - place apples in a bowl or bucket of water and the children have to try and get one out only using their mouths

Apple strings - suspend apples on string at the kids' head height and again the kids have to try and take a bite using only their mouths

Body Parts - blindfold the kids and get them to put their hands into ‘body parts’ i.e. entrails (jelly), eyeballs (grapes) and plates of spaghetti (worms). Far more terrifying than a toy witch whose eyes light up for ten seconds before you have to replace the battery. 

Ghost stories - turn all the lights out and tell spooky stories by candlelight 

All these traditions seem to be getting lost among the fake witches broomsticks on sale for a couple of quid in the discount shops, which I think is a shame. So, next Monday, we will be going back to the roots of Halloween and having a traditional, old-fashioned - night of costume making, pumpkin carving, making toffee apples and apple bobbing. There are also some fantastic Halloween events happening around the country, including a great programme of workshops at The Ark, Dublin and many, many more.

What do you think? Has Halloween become too commercialised? Is it all just a bit of harmless fun, or are you planning to make it more  traditional - again?

Right, I'm off to mend my broomstick, polish my cauldron and revise a few spells. I can't sit here blogging all day - some us have a busy night to get ready for.


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