On Halloween, one of us goes out with David as he wanders the nearby streets knocking on doors. He rather enjoys trick or treat although it isn’t just about the haul of sweets he comes home with. He remembers houses from previous years, particularly ones with pets. He avoids some houses though, as he says the people are “weird”.
Last night, I was reminded of the scene in “ET” where there were crowds of youngsters wandering with their parents at a discreet distance. This is how it is in Britain is these days, at least in the early evening. Remembering back to when I was young in the late 60s/early 70s, about all that happened in Newcastle was that we would get a turnip (or a suede, in southern speak), cut the top off, hollow it out, cut a face in, fashion a string handle, put a candle inside then put the top back on and carry it around outside to show our mates. The outcome of this was that we would come home smelling of scorched turnip and probably have candle wax stuck to our fingers. We didn’t get up to any mischief or knocking on doors, the only dodgy bit would be where we got the turnip from, generally scrumped from a farm at Kenton Bank Foot (until the farmer caught us one year, that is).
However, the trick or treating carries on until much later in the evening, when it can get a bit more unpleasant. ET the Director’s cut typifies this, with a deleted scene where teenagers are out causing mayhem with eggs, flour, fireworks and superglue. It seems that it is starting to become a problem in Bradford, where the Police have made available these YES/No posters to old people or anyone who feels intimidated. Yorkshire actually has a tradition known as Mischief_night (on November the 4th) and I can only recall any impact of this being some toilet roll wrapped round our ornamental conifers in the front garden. I suspect one or two of the local regulars will have stories to tell though about what they got up to when they were younger.
In Newcastle, every day was mischief day, we used to play knocky-nine-doors, where we rang the bell and ran away. It still happens today, but now it is called ParcelForce.