Acting ‘the gloshies’

MUCH fun at Casa Harris this evening. Ronnie and Reggie have been honouring the traditional spirit of the evening by extorting sweets from the neighbours by implied threats of violence performing cute songs for the neighbours in return for treats.

And despite my general misgivings about the Americanisation of Hallowe’en, there is at least one imported tradition which is extremely welcome: the pumpkin lantern. Anyone who has tried to hollow out a turnip (swede) to turn it into a lantern will understand. It is very hard work. I think I can remember my fingers bleeding at the effort. And the effect was – shall we say – less than impressive.

An added benefit of the popularity of pumpkins is that teachers are even advising their pupils only to visit homes where a lit lantern has been placed outside, indicating that guisers are welcome. As a youth, there was always an element of Russian roulette when it came to Hallowe’en; you would knock on random doors, never sure if there was a welcome or a dismissal awaiting you. (I recall one Hallowe’en when I wore a very excellent green latex mask which was a near-perfect replica of the classic Karloff Frankenstein’s monster. A very young girl in a house we visited watched us warily as her parents opened the door to us, and burst into tears with fright – but only after I removed the mask. Ho-hum.)

Another odd Ayrshire tradition which went the way of the dinosaurs long before “trick or treating” became popular, was the doorstep greeting which we would recite when a door was opened to us. Most people I know simply said “Can we have our Hallowe’en?” 

But in Ayrshire – or at least in Beith – or at least, in some parts of Beith – or at least in the Harris household – we would say: “May we act the gloshies?” Yeah, I know: me neither.

Anyway, here’s this year’s most excellent Hallowe’en lantern. Scary, huh?

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Acting ‘the gloshies’

  1. Martin Cullip

    “An added benefit of the popularity of pumpkins is that teachers are even advising their pupils only to visit homes where a lit lantern has been placed outside, indicating that guisers are welcome”

    Why are the teachers doing that Tom? What business is it of theirs?

    We had a big bowl of sweets here tonight and the doorbell went just once. I wondered why but now I know the kids were told they might die or something if they knocked on my door I understand more.

    The two boys who knocked were dressed as Frankenstein and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre-er (?). They were very polite, filled their bags with sweets and will probably do very well in life seeing as they perhaps ignored fatuous warnings based on NO real evidence of real harm.

    Reminds me of a certain ban.

    So now we have to carve out a pumpkin in order to be considered ‘safe’? In a low crime stockbroker belt area? Good grief!

  2. I have just got back from a Hallowe’en school disco. I got back from Glenrothes about half an hour before it started, and really wasn’t enthused. However, I had a little mummy who wanted to dance, so both my husband and I went along to help. There’s nothing like some party music to lift the spirits – Don’t Stop Me Now always makes me smile.

    I wondered what you thought, however, about a parent sending a taxi to pick up their child. We organisers were pretty fed up, particularly as we had specifically asked that people didn’t do this after our experiences last Christmas.

    We feel bad about being put in a position where we have to effectively decide whether it is safe to send a child off on their own. I actually phoned the mother concerned to check, but got a flea in my ear for my pains.

  3. Martin, you need to calm down, mate. Teachers offering friendly and helpful advice to their pupils isn’t exactly the same as fascist totalitarianism.

  4. Martin Cullip

    I disagree. Kids need to understand that part of life involves a certain amount of risk-taking. Eradicate that entirely and the end result is inevitably a nation of cosseted robots.

    How on Earth is advice to stay away from homes that don’t have a pumpkin outside possibly a good idea?

    So they get protected from someone telling them to get lost? Are kids not allowed, in any circumstance, to get a taste of what they will inevitably experience hundreds of times in their future? Isn’t that part of a life education?

    My teachers taught me (late 70s, early 80s) to go out and live life to the full, to experience all that life has to offer.

    My kids went out and knocked on EVERYONE’s door. They came back with carrier bags full. Their biggest haul came from a very old couple who gave them a 250g bar of Dairy Milk each and were deliriously happy to have had youngsters knocking on their door. They don’t get out much, probably haven’t the energy to cut out a pumpkin and their house is dark as it hasn’t been decorated since the 60s no doubt.

    The lesson my kids learnt was that if you take a risk you could profit greatly. You may also find that your actions brighten someone’s life into the bargain. You may win, you may lose, but you won’t know unless you try.

    The alternative is bland mediocrity, just doing what you are told. If they end up like that, I’m selling my business on eBay rather than leave it to them in my will. 😉

  5. Martin Cullip

    OMG, Caron the (il)Liberal (un)Democrat speaks: “I wondered what you thought, however, about a parent sending a taxi to pick up their child”

    What exactly is the worry here? CRB checks are so very widespread these days, how can there be any doubt about the trustworthiness of a taxi driver? Are you living in Beirut or something?

    “We feel bad about being put in a position where we have to effectively decide whether it is safe to send a child off on their own. I actually phoned the mother concerned to check, but got a flea in my ear for my pains.”

    Why are you deciding if it’s safe or not? It’s not your kid, the parent had made the decision and the booking. The taxi driver is incredibly regulated (I know as it’s my business) so is completely safe. The flea in your ear was rightfully inserted.

  6. Yes, but what if we had sent off the wrong child to the wrong place? It’s more of a responsibility for someone else’s child than I want to take. And more than a parent should ask us as organisers to take.

    And why should the mother have been anything other than pleased that I had phoned to check that it was ok to send her child with this person?

  7. John

    Thank goodless you’re not in America where a 12 year old boy was shot dead and others were wounded as they approached a house whilst Trick or Treating.

  8. Nicholas

    Hysteria (irrational fear) + Nannyism = New Labour

    The irony is that Tom Harris MP accuses members of the voting public who posted comments about 1984 of hysteria but belongs to a party and government that has done nothing but pander to hysteria and whip it up to justify its stupid new laws. This Halloween nonsense is a prime example.

    Caron you should stop organising because it is not the same as agonising. It is people like you that have brought this country to its current puerile and child-like state, ripe for New Labour’s nanny to boss us all about.

    The real Halloween bogyman is Gordon Brown:-

    “Gordon Brown’s boast that Britain is well placed to weather the recession was dealt a serious blow last night.

    A report by the influential Institute for Fiscal Studies claimed Government finances are in a far worse state than the Prime Minister admits.

    It said the budget deficit is more than four times as high as under the Tories in the early 1990s.”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1082146/Brown-debts-ball-chain-Britain-says-IFS.html

    Four times as high, eh?

  9. “The gloshies” – a reference to the Galoshan plays, revived most recently by Edinburgh’s Beltane Fire Society for their own Samhuinn celebrations?

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