100 Weeks of Scotland: Hallowe’en

Picture: Alan McCredie
Picture: Alan McCredie
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Every year I get slightly annoyed by the assertion from the London-based media that Hallowe’en is some form of American invasion. This lazy, rwisdom view ignores the fact that in Scotland and some other areas of the UK Hallowe’en never went away. It is as major an event now as it has always been. Of course it is prime fodder for the likes of the Daily Mail who, in their own miserable way, turn a great social event into another attack on civilisation as we know it.

Week Fifty Three

There are a lot of grumpy adults at Halloween. Thankfully though there are a lot more very happy children. Although the US variation of ‘trick-or-treat’ may be common in some areas, in Scotland it is still hugely out-numbered by the traditional guising or galoshins. Rather than demanding sweets-with-menaces the young ghosts and ghouls have to sing for their supper. Even then, I don’t mind the odd trick-or-treater. I’m always intrigued by what their trick might be, and am always disappointed when I call their bluff and they don’t have any fiendish plot to hand.

In an age when so many adults moan about ‘kids these days’ and ‘when we were young we were always outside’ to then turn around and be a misery about kids doing exactly what they should be doing strikes me as somewhat hypocritical. It happens once a year – buy a couple of bags of fun-size mars bars and dish them out willy-nilly to the little devils on the doorstep.

My favourite guisers are those who are clearly too old, and far too big, to be doing it. There is nothing so funny/terrifying than opening the door to a couple of lanky youths in scabby tracksuits wearing a 25p mask from Tesco’s. Truly the stuff of nightmares.

I remember as a child being scared at Hallowe’en and it is still one of my favourite times of the year. Even if I do still bear the scars of being sent out as a very small, very young child in a dress taken from my older sister’s doll, nothing could ever take away the thrill, the scariness, the fun of those cold autumn nights. Not even the monkey nuts.

And can we as a nation really do without the perfect training for our children in the ways of extortion and greed? It is after all what makes our great banking institutions tick.

• Alan McCredie began the ‘100 weeks of Scotland’ website in October last year, and it will conclude in Autumn 2014. McCredie’s goal is to chronicle two years of Scottish life in the run-up to the independence referendum.

McCredie says ‘one hundred weeks...’ is intended to show all sides of the country over the next two years. On the site, he says: “Whatever the result of the vote Scotland will be a different country afterward. These images will show a snapshot of the country in the run up to the referendum.

“The photos will be of all aspects of Scottish culture - politics, art, social issues, sport and anything else that catches the eye.”

Follow the project at 100weeksofscotland.com. You can also follow Alan on Twitter.

All pictures (c) Alan McCredie/ 100 weeks of Scotland