Friday, 26 October 2012

Howloween... and a streetfull of...?

We'd talk about it for weeks. Who'd wear what and how to make it. None of this buying a costume lark. There would be a lot of begging and borrowing going on. Mums' sewing boxes and button tins raided.

Anyone who's dad wasn't on nightshift wheeled until their mum gave in and let us sort stuff out in their living room. During the summer most of the kids in our end of the street (it was 'L' shaped) would put on plays in the street. Mums and dads. grannies, granpas, aunties, and uncles would sit on the grass verge, bringing kitchen chairs out to park their bums on.Luckily there wasn't a lot of traffic, and we always waited until the postie has passed by on his bike.

However, at this time of the year was too cold for all that. So it was someone's house. There was no central heating, and the coal fire wouldn't be lit until the evening, so often you'd keep your coat on whilst you made witches hats and ghost masks.

By the time the big night came around, most of the adults were heartily sick with us kids practicing our 'guising piece; but they understood. it was our night, just like hogmanay was theirs.

There was none of this trick or treating. Guising was a serious business. We had to sing—or act—for our supper, or in this case, guising treat.

"The sky is blue, the grass is green, please may we have our halloween"

Each child would chap (knock) at the door, and when it was opened, say those magic words.

Inevitably the reply would be, "Not until you've you've shown us your guising piece." then whoever had been chosen to chap that door would launch into a poem or a chart hit. some clever children would tap dance or play the recorder. Anything we got went into the communal pot to be shared out later. Any apples would be set aside for the 'dookin fa apples' that happened later.

Although this was in England, most of the inhabitants of the town were Scottish, who moved down to England in the depression to work in the new steel works. so a lot of Scottish traits about.

We were only allowed out if we went en masse with the big kids keeping an eye on the wee ones. They knew that Mrs McSweet at number three didn't live up to her name, and we gave her a wide berth. Mr Stearn at number ten wasn't at all stern, and always handed out pennies and sweets. The dog at number thirty two was to be avoided at all costs.

After the allotted time, it was back to someones house for the party. The dookin for apples, the sticky string, the green or orange pop, and if we were lucky wee iced cakes with blood colored icing!

Someone got the prize for best costume. It was usually a bag of sweeties which we shared. Then the best bit of the night.

The lights were turned off, and by the flickering flames of the fire, we were told spooky stories. Ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night.

Going out into the frosty, moonlit night, tires and slightly sick from sweets and cakes, there was more than one child who held tight to their mum's hand on the way home. And got her to check under the bed and in the wardrobe for 'visitors'.

Now I read my halloween books in a different way, with anticipation of a good hot read. Like  The Eclipse Of The Blood Moon. So I'm giving an ecopy away to one commenter on here...

Here's the blurb to whet your appetite.

When the blood moon coincides with Halloween, the forces of darkness unite to wreak their evil spells. Will this All Hallows Eve bring joy or sorrow? Curses abound and destiny calls, as a vampire watches over his human. Devils atone to the moon, and shifters hunt their mate on land protected by a powerful white witch. An angel takes human shape to protect the gypsy girl he loves, and a black widow hunts her prey in human form.
In these five chilling and sexy tales, is love enough to break the cycle? Or is all lost under the orange glow of the menacing sphere in the sky?

find us all here...


  1. Halloween is not a big thing in Australia, but, I really like hearing what you all get up to.

  2. Sounds like you had a blast on Halloween! I lived in Utah growing up and about 75% of the time we had snow to trick or treat in. Carin
    mawmom at gmail dot com

  3. Hi Raven! Wonderful, evocative post and excerpt! Halloween is my fave holiday and I have so many pleasant memories of trick-or-treating and scaring my little brother silly. Happy hopping, and I wish you the best!

  4. Wow, it's so interesting the differences in how countries celebrate Halloween. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Jyl22075 at gmail dot com

  5. A very nice story. We all have our own stories, the big thing is that Halloween is a celebration to remember.

  6. Very evocative piece of writing. Especially interesting to read as I'm also from the UK and Halloween wasn't celebrated where I grew up. Always nice to find another UK writer. I popped along to your website and 'teachers despaired of me' made me giggle. I can so relate particularly with a comment my English teacher made of my writing even though it was my best subject and I did well in the class.

  7. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  8. Loved hearing about your Halloween. So different, & much more fun than the ones from when I was young.


  9. Happy Halloween!! Thank you so much for the awesome hop and giveaway! :)