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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The meaning of halloween

Now there was me naively thinking that Halloween was all souls' day, the day before all saints' day, "all hallows een".  This, in turn, was a co-opted pagan festival.  In fact as the picture below clearly shows, the event has been firmly co-opted by Messrs Mars, Nestle and Cadbury.  If there were any balance in the world, tomorrow would be International Tooth Decay Day.

In all seriousness, I was slightly scared by the  swarm of children who descended on our road and picked it dry of anything edible in a manner not seen since Moses led the chosen people out of Egypt.  I am surprised there are still leaves on the trees!  

Some of the children who came to our door grabbed two huge fistfuls of sweets without any sense of restraint whilst parents lingered chatting in the street. Few bothered to say "Trick or treat" let alone, "Happy halloween!"  Most just rang the doorbell and stuck out a paw then ran off without saying thank you.  There seemed to be very little going on other than untrammelled consumption.

My daughter had a lovely time and had been excited about the day for at least the last week.  So it is possible that I am simply suffering from rose tinted spectacles when I look at my own child

If we are allowing or perhaps even inculcating this "grab it before it goes" behaviour in our children, is it any wonder that there are issues with countries overspending, directors' salaries and corporate greed?

PS I was staggered by the sheer numbers of children on our street. I live in near Wandsworth Common and I know our area is not known as "Nappy Valley" for nothing. Indeed I have been told (as yet unverified) that this is the area with one of the highest birth rates in Western Europe.  Even so there seemed to be too many children on one street.  Moreover, our house is just round the corner from a fairly wealthy street and I didn't recognise the vast majority of children who called at our door, which made me suspicious.  So when I took my daughter out with her friends (a little too late it transpired from the number of empty sweet bowls and apologetic faces) we went a little further afield and found just three or four streets away closer to the estates that there was barely a child or jack o lantern in sight.  

Who knew that there was a class war element to Halloween?