Trick or treat

Like pumpkin carving, the practice of trick or treating can be traced back to the Samhain festivals of Ireland and Scotland.In addition to carving turnips to ward off harmful fairies and spirits, people wore costumes to disguise themselves from the spirits. This tradition became known as Guising or Mumming. Often people went from door to door in their disguises, to collect food for the Samhain feast.

Finding the right attire for guising was the subject of much discussion and thought in our house almost as soon as we arrived in early October. The girls pored over the hundreds of costumes for sale on Target’s website and after much debate and discussion they settled on the two gorgeous creatures below…

Olive aka Frankie Stein from the Monster High series.
Edie aka Bloom from the Winx Fairies series. She was not happy with me when I insisted on the leggings and long sleeves underneath!

At about 6:30pm we joined our neighbours and began our march around the neighbourhood…well actually it was more of a sprint. The girls were so excited that they dashed from house to house, got their candy, blurted out a quick thank you and then dashed onto the next place. As I watched them I was struck by the thought that they had no idea why they were doing what they were. They are all too familiar with the visible traditions of Halloween but completely clueless when it comes to the history. I vowed to myself to make sure that next year we will do some talking about just why everyone dresses up, carves pumpkins and goes from house to house.

Hitting up Dad for our first treats.

I had planned to take many more photos but I was somewhat shaken up after Edie, in her furious attempt to keep up with Olive and M, tripped and fell head over heels down a set of concrete steps. Despite the fact she was sobbing and sporting a blood nose nothing could stop her from seeing out the rest of the night and, as it was the one night when a bit of blood on one’s costume  is almost the dress code, we valiantly continued. (After watching Olive pass out a few days earlier after having an immunisation at the doctor’s office, Edie’s tumble was just about the last straw! I very much wanted to run home crying to Mum!)

Some of the decorations we saw on our travels.
We saw a few of these!

We straggled in the door just after 8pm with very heavy pumpkins. Richard’s night had been on the quiet side. The doorbell had rung about twenty times and now we were left with all the candy I had bought in an effort not to be the clueless new nieghbours who ran out of candy.

Fortunately Olive had a wonderful idea – statistics with candy!

The girls diligently sorted every piece and then the next day we made a tally chart. And then the next day after that I put everything in a box and hid it!!
A few American classics in there.

As we tucked the girls into bed that night they were already asking when it would be Halloween again – I suspect we will still be eating this year’s candy haul when next Halloween rolls around.

Trick or treat!

PS I’ve finally added photos from our Summer holiday to my Flickr account. Click on the link and you can see what we got up to in Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Dubrovnik, Trieste and Engelburg.

3 Replies to “Trick or treat”

  1. Absolutely super costumes girls and poor Edie no “effects” needed her own blood shed. Well I was happy to see the word Guising mentioned. Because in Scotland when we were wee we went around
    Guising. Our costumes just our mother’s or fathers old clothes or maybe an item from our grandparents. We would knock on the doors of neighbours and chant “please to help the guisers”
    We would be invited in to the house, with much puzzlement the householder would try to guess who we are (of course the adults knew but they got into the swing of it) and our makeup admired, soot from the chimney some of our mother’s lipstick and her precious rouge. Then each of us kids had to do a turn, i.e. sing a song
    recite a poem or crack a joke As rationing was still on there was hardly any sweets, but we might get
    a biscuit, home made toffee or what we all really aspired to “money” i.e. a penny or if we were lucky
    a threepenny bit (like NZ 5c of today). This year we went down to Wellington and watched the
    Wellington Fireworks from the apartment got a great view, first time Dad and I have seen the spectacle.
    Love Grannie

  2. Hi Christina! As always, I have loved your photos and good explanations about this festivity. I have learned so much through your information and have enjoyed every bit of it, even though I felt so sad that Eddie had such a bad fall :-(. Nevertheless, it is a relief to see her big smile when sorting the treats 😉 Keep having fun!

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