When I was a little girl, growing up in 1970s UK, there was no such thing as a Halloween holiday. Halloween was just one of those days that came and went, signified only by the annual TV airing of its eponymous movie (which incidentally I still cannot watch today, having been thoroughly traumatized by it back in the day). An old sheet was occasionally offered up in sacrifice to make a reasonable ghost, but that was about as far as the festivities went in those days.
Tonight, thirty plus years on, I am dragging my sorry ass round my suburban street Trick or Treating’ with two small British boys who watch too much American TV. There is palpable excitement in small town Britain, and an apparently never-ending thirst for gut-wrenching fear.
It is a night when staunch traditionalists curse the Yanks for this loathsome export, but a night when the once-E.T. Generation, now parents ourselves, relish the opportunity to be kids again and party for no apparent reason. No one celebrates a pointless holiday quite as well as our friends from across the Pond who make the scary movies ... (it is worthy of note at this point to say that, although we may have embraced the art of Trick or Treat in the UK, there is:-
A. No tricking’. Ever.
B. Not a single person alive in the UK who has any clue whatsoever what Thanksgiving is all about. We just don’t get it.
So tonight, as I lament my lost childhood and celebrate my ability to re-live it all through my fabulous kids, I find myself presented with two small expectant faces for painting please mum. My slightly wonky home-made costumes are dutifully donned, and the pumpkins are aglow at the front door.
First, the ghost walk around the local park. Then, we are off to scare some frail and elderly neighbors witless with our polite English children.
Hopefully their swag bag will be fuller than mine was in 1975, and their memories overflowing. Thank you USA, the 21st Century British parent is forever in your debt …
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