“Trick or treat? I don’t know about you, but my answer to this question, if I’m honest, would be unprintable in a family newspaper,” the critic A. N. Wilson wrote recently in The Daily Mail. “Let’s say it’s stronger than ‘push off.’ Yet the little beggars will soon be round, banging and ringing at our doors with this irritating refrain.”I was going to laugh at them for being cranky and dense, but O'Donnell changed my mind. In a place where there was once a more mysterious and entrancing tradition, it's got to feel empty and sad to be subjected to a thin tradition from another place.
Mr. Wilson blamed “the kitsch hotchpotch known as American Gothic.”
Hugh O’Donnell, a professor of language and popular culture at Glasgow Caledonian University, said in an interview that “the main complaint is that it’s just fun without any meaning behind it.”
“It’s no longer got any relationship to anything — not the old Celtic idea of the living and the dead, or the Christian tradition of Allhallows Eve,” said Mr. O’Donnell....
Mr. O’Donnell said that when he was a boy in Scotland, he and his friends regularly went door to door, playing out an old Celtic tradition.
“It was called guising,” he explained. “You put an old sheet over your head and went to all the houses in the village, and you always had to do something, like sing a song or tell a joke.” The children did not receive candy then — just apples and, maybe, peanuts, he said....
October 31, 2006
“All they want is sweets... They’re not scaring you, or singing to you, or charming you — they’re just grabbing it and going to the next house..."
Halloween's not making sense to the British.