Thursday, November 4, 2010
An American Halloween
I got a call from my mother the other day. It was a couple of days before Halloween.
My mother still lives in England. When I was growing up there, Halloween looked nothing like it does here in America where I’m raising my daughters. No jack o’ lanterns or trick or treating, no costumes, ghouls or goblins. It was a time of remembrance, a church service in honor of those who had come and gone. It’s one of those areas where there is a big cultural difference between my old life and new. Some things get lost in translation.
However, my mum is somewhat aware of the American approach to Halloween and wanted to know what her grandchildren were up to. The conversation went something like this:
Mum: Are you and the girls going to a Halloween party this weekend?
Me: No, but we are going trick-or-treating.
Mum: Trick-or-treating? Is that where the children go from door to door asking for food?
Me: Er, yes, Mum, something like that.
Mum: Well, I don’t approve of that.
Me: You don’t approve of trick-or-treating? It’s a custom here. The kids get dressed up and have a great time.
Mum: It’s just not right. Making people get up and answer the door at night.
Me: The neighbours expect it, Mum. It’s a lot of fun for everyone.
Mum: I just don’t think that’s right. Teenagers looking all scary and going around knocking up old ladies.
As I said, some things get lost in translation. But she’s absolutely right. I don’t approve of that either.
Posted by Steve de Beer