A lot of people in the UK (England, in particular) decry Halloween as an American import. In fact it's based on a long tradition.
In Scotland and Ireland, Guising — children disguised in costume going from door to door for food or coins — is a traditional Halloween custom, and is recorded in Scotland at Halloween in 1895 where masqueraders in disguise carrying lanterns made out of scooped out turnips, visit homes to be rewarded with cakes, fruit and money.
The practise of Guising at Halloween in North America is first recorded in 1911, where a newspaper in Kingston, Ontario reported children going "guising" around the neighborhood.
When I first came to Corby in the early 1980s the local kids would dress up and go round neighbours' houses, saying rhymes like:
I'm an Aberdonianor
I come from Aberdeen
I've come all the way to Corby
to get my Halloween
The sky is blueNow they're more likely just to say 'Trick or treat' but it is really just carrying on a long tradition of children 'begging' at certain times of the year. We always had 'Penny for the Guy' and used to go carol-singing around neighbours' houses - and not for charity, either.
the grass is green
please may I have
All generally good fun and a way for neighbours to meet local kids.
I spent Halloween 2007 in Brooklyn - it was delightful to see the elaborate decorations on certain houses, where children were obviously welcomed.
|I'm afraid the home-made cats' ears didn't work very well.|
The shops on one of the main avenues were nearly all open that evening and handing out candy goodies, and there was a good-natured parade with music.
|One of the decorated houses|
|A store giving out candy|
|The traffic lights are not part of the costume|
|She looks a bit spooked? It was getting cold!|
And another lovely idea - share or give a scary book!