Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Witch Side Are You On?

There are several people that I know that consider Hallowe'en to be their favourite time of year. They celebrate it more lavishly than they do Christmas, New Year or even Tom Baker's birthday. These people are from America, a big bit of fat just off the coast of Ireland. Hallowe'en under these people's guidance is full of dressing up as a really sexy zombie and drinking cocktails called Dracula's Haemorrhage and thinking the last 27 Saw films were totally awesome. They have parties and laugh while dancing to the Time Warp and send their children out to Trick or Treat. THAT IS NOT FUCKING HALLOWE'EN, OK? Hallowe'en is way shitter than that.

I grew up in 70's Northern Ireland where it could be argued Hallowe'en came every day. Wearing masks and terrifying people door to door was pretty much a constant occurrence and the only difference being that on one of those days we got toffee apples instead of kneecapping. We didn't have Trick or Treat. We had something else. It was called Hallowe'en Rhyming. What happened was, a bunch of kids put on masks, NOT FUCKING COSTUMES, masks and went door to door singing while their parents stayed at home getting pissed and celebrating that the kids were away. We wore Dracula masks and ghost masks and werewolf masks and the song we sang was "FUCK THE POPE FOR HALLOWE'EN, GIVE US YOUR MONEY, PAPIST SHITE...." Only joking. The song was "Hallowe'en is coming and the goose is getting fat, will you please put a penny in the old man's hat". Oh, sure. These days with your The Saturdays and your Justin Beiber that probably sounds great but in our day that music was thought of as, as we would say, "balls". But people would give us money that we would put in a bag and at the end of the night we would play the game of Who Can Beat Everyone Up And Keep The Money? I wasn't that good at that game but, as my father would say, it's not the winning it's the getting your head kicked in that counts.

Of course nowadays kids don't even leave their bedrooms to Trick or Treat. They all have apps that do that for them. Oh, and they realise that Trick or Treat is shit and would rather be sold into the sex slave industry than ever do it. But in my day we had nothing during Hallowe'en and we were happy. Well, we were on the edge of suicide but that's as happy as you can expect for that time. We didn't have fancy costumes back in the 70's, we made a mask from the back of a Corn Flakes packet and superglued it to our face. We didn't have fancy sparklers, we had to strike two rocks together really near our faces. We didn't have fancy apples, we used to bob for frog spawn. And we certainly didn't have pumpkins. And that's what brings me to my point.

What happened to turnips? Have we become so clean? So sugar-coated? So AMERICAN??? Have we forgotten the humble turnip? Wasn't the turnip our friend in the 70's? Wasn't the turnip enough? Why have we sold our soul to the bigger, and admittedly far superior, pumpkin when it comes to pointlessly hollowing something out and sticking a candle in it as our biggest vegetable-based FUCK YOU to electricity? Hallowe'en is so squeaky clean now but in my day it was what it was supposed to be. Hallowe'en is a time for ghouls and monsters and what could be more horrific than encouraging a small child to cut himself to bits carving a fidgety little turnip, sticking a big 70's candle in it and burning down the house. When did Hallowe'en become

I encourage you, dear reader, to remember the joys of the past. This Hallowe'en bring your dog to a firework display and remain oblivious to it's fear, buy indoor fireworks so that all you can taste is sulphur for a month, stay up late and try to finger your partner during Friday the 13th and, for God's sake (after all, it is his day), buy a turnip and stay British.

I'm proud of you.


Chris said...

Hallowe'en in 1970's Northern Ireland sounds not too dissimilar to Hallowe'en in early 1990's Northern Ireland. Costumes consisting of a home-made mask and a bin bag was the height of it even then.

I remember we once deviated from the Hallowe'en Rhyming to try Trick-or-Treating (our minds polluted with American filth), only for the first guy whose door we knocked on to request a trick. We hadn't thought that far ahead so quickly reverted back to the trusty rhyme. We did go back and throw a banger at the old fucker's house though. Not an actual banger of course as fireworks were still banned in NI, a home-made banger crudely fashioned from a bengal match and a roll of caps.

Ah, Northern Ireland. Where even 8 year olds create explosive devices to terrify their neighbours with.

Erin London said...

Yes, I too hollowed out turnips at halloween in Northern Ireland - in my case in the late 60s and early 70s. One thing, though - was it a turnip or was it a swede? I have a feeling that what we called turnips (the big ones) in NI tend to be called swedes over here in England - and they think turnips are just those teeny tiny ones. Not really big enough for a lantern, those wee ones.

It was really hard work, like you said, but I did like nibbling the chunks of raw turnip.