I probably sound like a total bore but I don’t like trick or treating.
It all started years ago when we had elderly neighbours who couldn’t cope with cold calling or anybody knocking on their door when it was dark. Aware of their fragility I decided not to let our children get involved in an activity that I thought could easily spook vulnerable people.
But if I’m honest, that’s only part of the reason. The other is that I just don’t like trick or treating in the same way that I don’t like cold callers to my house, particularly at teatime when I’m busy cooking the evening meal. I’m also not used to halloween being something to celebrate. As a child, halloween was not someting we did in the 1970s and 80s; it was always bonfire night that we celebrated and I guess I sort of continued on with that tradition.
Of course, things changed. My children grew, my elderly neighbours passed away and were replaced by a younger family who were, yes you’ve guessed it, into halloween. At the same time, halloween became more popular and shops started to stock of blaze of orange and black paraphernalia.
And with that came the peer pressure and the party invitations for my elder daughter. By now, I was keen to maintain a good relationship with my increasingly awkward teen so I compromised and let her go to her first halloween themed party at her friend’s house, a party that also involved some trick and treating.
Dressed as something between a vampire and a witch, with her hair back combed and fixed with half a can of hairspray she excitedly went to the party. However, when we collected her afterwards, she was not happy. It transpired that she hated trick and treating, absolutely hated it. She said she felt as though she was begging and didn’t like going up to people’s doors which didn’t surprise me really as she is quite a shy girl. Not surprisingly she has never gone trick and treating again.
Whilst I was able to let my eldest daughter learn through this experience, for my younger two children a traditional halloween is just not possible. Their autistic disorders means that they are sensitive to a lot of things but particularly noise and crowds of people. Neither can they cope with excitement which really makes halloween a non-starter doesn’t it?
Nevertheless, we don’t give up on it entirely. Instead we do our own little halloween in our home with pumpkin carvings and a special tea and do you know what, it’s lovely. We don’t need trick or treating to enjoy halloween though, if I’m honest, I do quite fancy a fancy dress party.
Unfortunately though, our little celebrations, have been affected by other people trick or treating us.
Over the last couple of years, my son (or rather our car or house) has been targeted with eggs from a group of teenage boys, the ones who like to taunt my son. For them halloween has become an easy excuse to behave anti socially down our road and upset many neighbours, including us. It’s easy for me to ignore their behaviour but my son struggles with this and becomes easily stressed and tearful.
And when my children get upset like this, then October the 31st is not a night of fun but a night of unwanted nuisance and stress.
Postscript – Tuesday the 1st of October
Last night was not as peaceful as I would have liked. Our house and car got pelted with eggs again so this morning is being spent cleaning up the smeared remains of egg! What a way to greet November.