As I write this article today, we are roughly 6½ hours into the last day of October – otherwise known as Hallowe’en. Most years, there is a lot of debate about what it actually means – whether it is actually right for children to go knocking on people’s doors, asking for sweets.
This year has been no different; BBC Hereford & Worcester‘s mid morning presenter, Tony Fisher discussed Hallowe’en and its associated problems on Thursday’s programme. There were a lot of callers phoning up to say how they often feel scared to have large groups of children knocking on their doors asking for sweets (and, in some cases, money).
There were also some callers more supportive callers – one reporting that her 12 year old grandson loves dressing up and going trick-or-treating with his parents, while another called to talk about how visitors to her house one year were given the treat of patting the dog, instead of being told that there was no food available!
However, Hallowe’en actually has a strong connection to Christianity:
Many Christians ascribe no negative significance to Halloween, treating it as a purely secular holiday devoted to celebrating “imaginary spooks” and handing out candy. Halloween celebrations are common among Roman Catholic parochial schools throughout North America and in Ireland. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church sees Halloween as having a Christian connection.
Quoted from Wikipedia: Hallowe’en
In fact, in the USA, the negative publicity which is common in the UK doesn’t seem to exist. Many children go Trick-or-Treating for UNICEF – using an orange collection box, they ask for small donations from the people they visit. Over $118 million has been raised from this activity.
The National Confectioners Association reported in 2005 that 80 percent of adults in the United States planned to give out confectionery to trick-or-treaters, and that 93 percent of children planned to go trick-or-treating.
Quoted from Wikipedia: Trick-or-Treating
Yet, here in the UK, we often hear stories of increased levels of violence on October 31. I would be interested to know whether this is a common topic of discussion over in the USA – I have seen no stories on US news websites! In fact, the UK seems to be the only country where it is a topic widely discussed.
If you’re one of the people refusing to take part in Hallowe’en, remember this: you’re refusing to join in with what, to the majority of young children, is a bit of fun. Many younger children go with their parents and knock on the doors of the people they know – they are polite to residents. Any violence, vandalism etc. comes from a very small number of people, who are painting a very false image of what Britain is really like.