In America, Trick or Treat, has been a significant tradition in the year from the 1930s; the UK has probably followed suit-like in many other areas of life! Although, a bit like Bob Dylan and traditional folk songs, it all becomes inter-weaved over the generations, with cross fertilisation.
In an earlier blog, Neep, Neeps and Apples I made mention of stealing turnips or suedes from the local farmers' fields at Dreghorn and Swanston. Making lanterns from these root vegetables was the main way that Halloween was marked at The Stair; I can recall Iain Hoffmann toiling over his lanterns-making the lanterns was hard going because the neeps were particularly tough-rock hard in the centre- unlike the more fleshy pumpkins that have become so prominent in the shops over the past twenty years-again something which we've taken from America; although they got the idea of lanterns from Scots and Irish immigrants. Another thing in favour of pumpkins is they don't give off the same pungent smell that emanates from neep lanterns and candles!
|d'Artagnan assisting his Mum!|
Living in a quiet, small hamlet in the Highlands, but where there are over twenty children, has meant that it has always been a major event here; indeed d'Artagnan is a dab hand at assisting his mum to make the lanterns which stand menacingly outside the kitchen door to welcome and scare the 'guisers' in equal measure.
Guising became much more prominent in the latter part of the 1960s-it was never something which I indulged in, but certainly I can recall some of the kids from The Stair and also their pals from numbers 2, 4 and 8 Oxgangs Avenue, going door to door, where they picked up a few bob. Their costumes were nothing compared to today-occasionally some of the kids were imaginatively dressed up, particularly with some make up, but I'm afraid the standard fare was a bed-sheet and a tea-towel on the head, to pass as an Egyptian!