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?