Thursday, October 23, 2008

halloween shmalloween

i will be honest.
i don't care for halloween.
no, that's not true.
i don't like halloween.
at all,
or very much at all anyway.
it's just not my cup of tea.

when i grew up in the concrete jungle of tyneside we didn't really go in for it in a big way.
we usually got a turnip, yes a TURNIP for gawdsake, and we carved it out (try doing that with underdeveloped muscles and skinny little wrists) and gave it a scary face and stuck a candle inside with a bit of string thru the lid.
then we walked about the street in the dark for an hour or two, in the freezing cold, relighting the candle every five minutes while the wind whipped thru the privet hedges and blew it out again, rendering us scared sh*tless cos the streets were dark and dingy.
have YOU ever tried carving out a turnip?
you don't know you're born.
pumpkins are for sissies.

you need the strength of a navvy and a blade with a sturdy handle that's been sharpened to within an inch of its life to carve a turnip.
there was absolutely no pleasure in the whole charade.
a complete farce.
we didn't knock on doors and say 'trick or treat' either.
a good kick up the backside and a solid slam would have been the answer to that request.
i'm not bitter.
not all childhood memories should be warm and fuzzy right?

i remember when i first came to canada with my two boys and we were looking for turnips to carve for their first halloween here.
thank goodness they came home from school in time to put us right on that score.
we'd have been the laughing stock of the neighbourhood and my children would have been traumatized and shunned for ever.
my oldest was already coming home from school asking why the other kids were calling him 'limey' 'teapot' or 'mangiacake'
children can be so caring.

these days i contemplate hiding in the house with the lights out when neighbourhood darlings come knocking to show off their fancy duds.
well see, THAT'S not even true.

because they don't even CARE if you see their costumes.
they just shove a pillow case in your face and scream TRICK or TREAT before they simultaneously grab and turn their noses up at the candy on offer.

they're off down the driveway and on to the next victim before i am finished saying,
'hello sonny, and who are you supposed to be?'
"SPONGE BOB DRACULA' they yell over their shoulders as they stomp off down the path giving the secret signal to the next kids on their way to the door which means;
"candy's crap, don't waste your time."
i think it's a finger into the left palm or something, i'm just never quite quick enough to catch them.

and where, i hear you ask, is your other half while you are answering the door and freezing your buns off and simultaneously being abused by snot nosed children?
why he's downstairs in front of the tv isn't he?
cosy and warm and watching sports.
in front of his gas fireplace.
in his nice leather reclining chair with the footrest.

and if i should happen to take five in the ladies' room he kindly shouts up the stairs;
just in case i miss one of 'em.
he's all heart like that.

and i'm up there missing coronation street.
on MY tv.

and you know what?
i'm not doing it this year.
i'm not even buying candy.
i'm not even leaving the porch light on.
i'm going to turn off all of the inside lights and tiptoe around the house.
see if i care.
bah humbug.
trick or treat?
that's what!


ChiTown Girl said...

I clicked on the "mangiacake" link, and nearly pissed my pants!! That is freakin' hysterical!! And, of course, I have family up in Canada, so I can totally see this word being used in everyday conversation! Ayyy ohhh!

C said...

my partner is from england, (manchester, then wiltshire) she never celebrated halloween until she did it here with my kiddos. she said they had "guy fawkes" night there that included a huge bonfire etc. she never really did enjoy halloween. i guess it's something that gets ingrained in ya as a little kid. i also have family in montreal and quebec city. (i am french canadian) and i guess i didnt know canadians celebrated halloween. say, i have a question 4 ya... what does clippy mat stand for anyways? oh, and by the way, thanks for visiting my blog, hope you will be a regular. oh, and i looked up mangiacake and i too found other words on there that cracked me up.... look under the "c"'s lotsa cleveland nasties....
'till next time, C ya

Anonymous said...

omg thankyou pat for being so honest i HATE HATE HATE halloween always have always will i was just to scared to say it out loud,but now i will....judi

Gina said...

they carve turnips in england?? how strange! hehe

BusyBeeSuz said...

I am sorry you have such horrid memories of the holiday. Turnips???
Can I share a little secret with you and all of the other folks in blogospere? I don't even know what a turnip looks like. Really.
I am not big into halloween either. My kids like it a bit, just for the candy.
You are your hubby are funny, so typical with him lounging, and you trying to please the little brats.
I drill it into my kids heads to say THANKYOU and make eye contact. Darnit.
Go ahead, lock the doors. turn off the lights. they will get the message.
take care,

Expat mum said...

Did you get out of bed the wrong side this morning hinny? I remember walking around the street with the carved out turnip, and the candle that always went out, going "Wooo woo". And that was about it.

Clippy Mat said...

mangiacake. it can sound so hurtful to a child. if they really despise your food they just call you a 'cake.' my poor boy was bullied by italians with better food. it's racist surely? ;-)

c: yep, guy fawkes. that was nov. 5we just called it bonfire night. we used to gather up old furniture, trees and dead bodies (just kidding) and build massively unsafe bonfires and light very dangerous fireworks in the middle of the housing estates. it was a good way to keep warm on a cold november night and there's nothing better than a roasted spud from the ashes of the fire.
here's a youtube link which might explain clippy mat, if it works
it's rhyming slang for my name, which is Pat.
your partner might understand that one. :-) she's a manc, i'm a geordie.

judi: welcome to the dark side. we can slam doors in kid's faces together. except for our darling grandchildren of course. for them it's open house policy.
it's nice to know i'm not alone.

gina and suz:
turnips as jack-o'lanterns. see the pic on this blog. you might know a turnip as a rutabaga suz. have NO idea how it got named THAT.
and you are awesome for teaching your kids to make eye contact. that's what i'm talking about!

Clippy Mat said...

expat mum:
hinny, ahhh you made me smile. me and m.o.h. still call each other 'hinny' all of the time. n.americans think we are saying 'honey' i think.

and "WOO WOO"??
it was more exciting on your side of the tyne bridge obviously. we were too cold to even say 'WOO"

Gill - That British Woman said...

you know I have never heard the term "mangiacake" in the whole 19 years we have lived here. I obviously lead a very sheltered life!!!

I remember the turnip thing though, they were really a pain to carve.

Sabra in Saudi is a real love a great lady and an interesting blog.


Smileygirl said...

Maybe you should just leave a basket of turnips out by the door with a sign that says, "Take One" and then count how many raw eggs are stuck to your house in the morning.

I need to go back and click on mangiacake. Don't know what that is...

Jenn said...

that's hilarious

poor andrew. i got called a mangiacake too but only bc every other person at DM was italian

probably would have been alright if they werent so bloody obnoxious!


aww poor lil trick or treaters

and dont forget the year i got my candy stolen! still traumatised!

Clippy Mat said...

smiley girl,
a basket of turnips? why didn't i think of that? genius.
i'll leave a note that says,
'carve these, cissies'. and in canada eggnight/devil's night is on the eve of halloween so i'll be safe from my house being pelted with eggs because it will be too late by then. however i will have to move house by next year.
it's so worth it.

jenn: ah i remember so well when those big lugs stole your candy and your dad and your brother's went out looking for them.
just to take it back of course.
not to inflict pain or injuries.
that would be wrong.

Anonymous said...

I just don't get the North American thing of Halloween at all, in fact (most seem to pronounce it as Holloween anyway) I doremember those perishing N.E. English nights in the dark with me turnip(boy didn't they stink when lit?)don't ever remember getting dressed up though but then we only had one neighbour to pester anyway.When you look into its origins it seems totally weird to send children out on such a night. Gimme Guy Fawkes/bonfire night any time As to Canadian kids taunting your younguns they should have been reminded how Canada got its name Ca Nada its nothing or nothing there by those who first travelled up there!

Anonymous said...