Discussion Forum

Trick or Treat

Posted by Lou
Wednesday, 1 November 2006

As usual, the moronic few spoilt the whole occasion for the many.

This was the first year I have allowed myself to get sucked into this American nonsense, and after the events of last night it will almost certainly be the last.

I armed myself with a whole load of treats and awaited the knock on the door. However, the sheer numbers of children trawling this particular street meant that I swiftly ran out. At this stage there seemed to be little point in answering the door.

Up until this point, almost all the children had been polite and had been dressed in costume.

However, a little later there were two incidents. Firstly there was a group of children who insisted on rattling the letter box and hammering repeatedly on the door for so long, that had I been elderly or alone in the house I would have been extremely frightened. Secondly, there was a group of four teenage boys who to my knowledge had not previously called at the house, and who were not dressed in costume, but who threw an egg at my front window before running off down the street.

I understand that the Police cannot be everywhere, but despite their warnings that they would take action against those whose idea of ?trick? was threatening to the public, there were no Police in evidence, and our local community bobby was unavailable to take my call.

From Anne
Wednesday, 1 November 2006

I think my reaction was the same as Lou's. I was prepared for a few young children in costume and face paint (my view has always been that they deserve something for putting in the effort), but I was astonished by how many people came to my door over the course of the evening, how old some of them were, and how late some of them came.

I ran out of treats after 20. The last lot kept peering through the frosted glass door with their masks on and were clearly not going to go until I opened the door - and all the time, the dog was going absolutely bonkers.

Frankly it felt very intimidating, and I gave them stuff just so that they would go away. The young people didn't seem to mean any harm, but I am annoyed with myself for allowing myself to feel threatened and giving in to them.

Anyone got any suggestions on how to resist them next year, without actually being nasty to the younger children?

From Taweakame
Thursday, 2 November 2006

I have been told by both Scots and Ulstermen that Halloween is celebrated in Northern Ireland and Scotia. As most American cultural practices they have an element of importation from "Old Countries". The exception possibly being the 4th of July. Thanksgiving has a uniquely American twist to its story but is little more then a late harvest festival.The American twist is well this version anyway is that the pilgrims in an unusual burst of generosity invited some native Americans to share the meal that they had prepared from the gifts the Native Americans had brought with them and given to the settlers that saved those pious folk of God from starvation. I imagine some of the Algonquin rue the day they extended the hand of friendship, looking back on it all.

Do not think that people over the age of 11 have any credibility whatsoever going trick or treating myself. They are only after money really. The older kids and should confine their activities to Penny for the Guy. A practice that seems to be dying out. And should be on street corners not touting around door to door.

From Oscar
Thursday, 2 November 2006

Although its a year away, I'd be happy to make some suggestions for next year. The Youth Service and Voluntary Sector are increasing working with local police and schools through various initiatives.

Although personally I'm totally against the principle of 'trick or treat' I don't see why Hebden Bridge can't operate an 'opt in' scheme.

Basically, houses that are willing to cooperate place an agreed recognised symbol in their window/garden (eg a lit carved pumpkin). The young people (and parents) through our expanding network are told to visit these houses, and these houses only, in an agreed time frame eg 5pm to 8pm.

For the previous two years my wife placed lit pumpkins in our garden. We had a plethora of young people knocking at our door and were prepared. This year we did nothing and only had one 'speculative' knocker.

The idea may be full of holes but we've got a whole year to work on it, so ideas, comments, suggestions please...

From John Thomas
Thursday, 2 November 2006

Quite simple just go out for the evening. Only stopping to make sure you have left no lights on at all, then nobody is under the impression you are at home. Job sorted I think you'll find.

Posted by Graham Barker
Thursday, 2 November 2006

One answer could be to allow doorknocking until (say) 7.30pm, when young children should be indoors and getting ready for bed. Thereafter it could be regarded in law as cold calling and/or anti-social behaviour. This would however require the police to stir themselves out of their current couldn't care less attitude towards ASB, so the chances are we're stuck with the problem.

From Lou
Thursday, 2 November 2006

One problem with your suggestion John Thomas - burglars! I feel happier leaving lights on if I am going out.

To be honest, I feel that this trick or treat thing is becoming out of hand. It has certainly escalated in the past three years, and there were huge numbers of youngsters on our street from around 5.30pm. There was one group of about a dozen going around together, and for those who really cannot afford this amounts to a very expensive night of treats even at the cheapest prices.

One group hammered - and yes I do mean hammered - on my door for so long that I got really quite angry about the whole thing. And then the egg throwing incident made us determined that we will not participate next year - so as I stated previously, the morons have spoilt it for the little ones who were obviously getting so much pleasure out of it.

I was rather annoyed to hear that Radio Leeds had reported that the Police had had no complaints regarding trick or treaters, as I certainly did complain. Perhaps it is down to the severity of the complaint.

And ... on the TV the night after trick or treat they were talking about mischief night soming up within the next few days - personally I have never heard of this but gave a huge groan when I heard of yet another night of disruption.

From Joseph
Thursday, 2 November 2006

Agree with everyone. I think an under 11's, and a 7.30 pm curfew and an opt in with a big pumpkin sticker are all good sensible ideas.

You could probably get a local business to sponsor the stickers, and serve as a central point for picking them up. Oasis is the obvious one, along with Spa or maybe the sweet shop (whats it called) as then you might pick up supplies when you were collecting your opt in sticker.

From Joseph
Thursday, 2 November 2006

I grew up in Leeds and we had "mischief night" until Halloween became popular. It sort of died out in the early 80's. I have found most people I mention it to in Hebden Bridge have no idea what it is.
Mischief night was the night before Bonfire night and the kids used to do things like knock on the door and run away. Most people tended to block their letter boxes up as they were scared the kids might put something through the letter box.

I looked up mischief night on the internet and it was something that happened in Yorkshire so not sure how it was never a big thing in Hebden Bridge.

Found the link if anyone is interested in looking it up.

From Adam B
Saturday, 11 November 2006

Re: Mischief Night.

We lived in Pickering for a few years and mischief night occured every year. I've never seen nor heard of it anywhere else and it does seem to be an exclusively Yorkshire thing. It also seems to be something which is dying out (no bad thing).

In Pickering (a town from the 60s regarding much of its' culture and way of life) this night was / is still rife. Around the time the local supermarket would stop selling commodities such as flour and eggs to under 18s in an attempt to control it. The police always made announcements before-hand.

At its' least the night consisted of eggs being chucked at windows and cars. At its' worst it consisted of frail pensioners being pursued home by gangs of youths armed with various missiles including coins, eggs, stones and anything else messy and heamful they could find.

One of the most despicable and cowardly evenings I have ever had the displeasure to come across. I am not easily shocked but to come across such an annual 'event' did indeed shock me.

That's everything I know of this, I hope I never find out anymore about it.

From Anne
Sunday, 12 November 2006

As children in Todmorden in the '60s we used to go 'plotting' for a couple of weeks before Bonfire night. This consisted of not only collecting wood for the fire, but also sometimes going round to people's houses singing 'Remember, remember the 5th of November', asking for wood for the bonfire and (rather cheekily I suppose) money for fireworks. Sometimes we had our guy in tow and people gave us more money if it was a good effort. If we were lucky, people gave us plot toffee or parkin. But it was all to do with preparing for Bonfire night and not Halloween, and it was all centred on the local bonfires that smaller groups of friends and neighbours organised for themselves. And we certainly didn't threaten mischief if we didn't get anything!

From Adam B
Sunday, 12 November 2006

I hope I didn't imply that mischief night was something which kids generally did in the 60s', I simply meant that it seems to be something largely from the past which now seems to be thankfully petering out. The thing about the incarnation which I have witnessed was that mischief was not threatened in a "trick or treat" style, instead it was dished out to vulnerable members of society. Also it wasn't mischeif but more a series of assaults, mainly on the elderly and infirm.

Anyway what prompted me to post was the mention of taking a guy in tow while knocking on doors. "Penny for a guy" is something I have never seen much of except when I lived in Shieldfield in the east end of Newcastle. There were always a few kids with a guy on a busy street corner hoping for coppers and sweets. Maybe something else which just doesn't occur very much in my generation and later!