Passions: Halloween spooks welcome, but have a joke to (withered) hand

Nothing says “traditional Scottish Halloween” like a ten-year-old arriving at the front door dressed like US serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer.
Guise and dolls will be dressed in their spookiest attire tonight (Picture: Ian Georgeson)Guise and dolls will be dressed in their spookiest attire tonight (Picture: Ian Georgeson)
Guise and dolls will be dressed in their spookiest attire tonight (Picture: Ian Georgeson)

Luckily, the mini-Milwaukee Monster was happy to eschew mystery meat for a finger of Fudge, but if we have to have cannibals on our street, couldn’t the kid at least give us his Sawney Bean?

Never mind, L’il Jeff was having fun, as were the 100 or so other kids who knocked on our front door last All Hallow’s Eve. I’m not kidding, we counted. My other half had to run out the back door to the shop to replenish our supply of Fun-Size bars. Meanwhile, it was unwanted Viscounts – I’ve become very allergic to emulsifiers – and stale bags of Monster Munch (what the heck, it’s not like they taste much better fresh).

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We never expected so many mischievous spirits, but there’s a Facebook group for our estate and I think the word went out that unlike a few of the neighbours we weren’t hiding in the living room with the lights out.

The minor stress was worth it to see the smiles on the bairns’ little faces at the sight of free sweeties or us leaping back in pretend terror as we opened the door – well, imagine, as most were wearing plastic fright masks.

A fair number of our impish visitors expected a Tunnock’s simply for showing up in a minimal effort Poundland witch hat, but a few game souls had read enough Broons and Oor Wullie books to realise they’re in Scotland, not the Good Old US of A.

Which means no Trick or Treat nonsense, but proper guising. A joke, a song, a rhyme… I don’t care if it’s awful, just make an effort. Although a full rendition of Robert Burns’s “Halloween” is best avoided – the “skelpie limmer” would still be here at Christmas...

Admittedly, I’m English and childhood Halloween consisted of carrying a turnip lantern up the back alley while shouting “Jack shine a Maggie!” (no idea), but I didn’t expect anything. Being in the darkness with an illuminated root vegetable was its own reward.

So if you’re taking the children door to door when the sun goes down, prime them with a party piece. You never know, I might give you a Mini Mars too!

And if you must come as a serial killer, at least make it a Scottish one.

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