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Bored not Scared

November 2, 2011

When I was much younger – much younger than today (not a bad opening line, that, might even set it to music, perhaps) anyway… when I was young – in fact, right up until I hit my 30s, “Halloween” was just a Scottish greeting to a child, “hello, wean.”

Then somebody looked across to the USA, home of great marketing ideas like “New Coke” and “EuroDisney” and realised that there was a packet to be made in rubber teeth and pumpkins.

It is reportedly the third largest retail bonanza after the big Birth and Death celebrations of December and April. As I’ve never given a toss about the 14th of February, which it unseated, I shouldn’t be worried about that – but it says something that people prefer to spend cash scaring each other than loving them. Still, given the volume of bullets flying around the Middle East at the moment, this zeitgeist isn’t much of a surprise I guess.

What depresses me far more is the loss of Britain’s own, traditional November pick-me-up “Guy Fawkes Night.” Killed off by the (deleted as children may be reading) who think anything British and Fun should cease immediately in favour of any imported event that can be marketed rather than celebrated, and the result is one gaping hole in my diary where November 5th used to be.

Every year, I used to volunteer at one of the best bonfire / firework / charity fundraising events in London… until the bureaucrats and PC Brigade killed it off almost 10 years ago. They decided kids should be burned and maimed at home, rather than at our safe event – and that marking the foiling of a significant plot that would have destroyed our country forever takes a back seat to foreign stuff based on personal belief and superstition.

All I can think is that the 31st October was grabbed as an event to celebrate the horror of becoming a family, hence the insistence on stupid costumes all round. If you add in the obvious commercial appeal of receiving confectionary worth 70p a go instead of just a “penny for the Guy” then it all makes sense to stretch the household budget.

This past Monday, though, I finally figured out the solution to the licensed yobbery and begging so kindly provided by the Obama types. Somebody I know’s solution was to answer the door wielding a camcorder. Before saying a word, he filmed everybody on his doorstep (through the porch window, of course). Handing over ‘bargain basement sweets’ any dissatisfaction was met with the comment that he now had all callers on camera, and that any untoward event would result in the images being handed to the authorities for criminal investigation – with local schools circulated to provide names.

Having first decided to spend nearly 80p on a packet of cheap chocolate biscuits just in case the vandals called, I came up with a better solution, that I post here for future use by those like me who prefer to watch TV undisturbed and will not tolerate criminal damage to my property even if committed by a grossly overweight Cheryl Cole impersonator.

First, buy a roll of masking tape and a marker pen. Use it to put a small but visible note on your front door (the masking tape peels off without a mark, and its message is only visible to those close to it). Writing “Baby Asleep, No Callers Please. Thank You,” with a “Do Not Disturb, please” also taped over the bell and door knocker worked for me.

It’s not about being grouchy, just that I object to being forced to participate in something which is totally alien to me and which grates even worse for replacing a great national event in which for centuries we all took so much pride. Now, off to raid Mr P’s wardrobe as I have a Bonfire Guy to stuff…

  1. Sarah Louise permalink
    November 2, 2011 11:17 am

    Oh my goodness Steve…. while I was reading this I was preparing to reply with my very own tip that I have been using for the last 9 years…and then at the very end you said it yourself !! SInce my daughter WAS a baby…the very first year I tried this it was indeed the truth so I did not feel very guilty! However….seeing how effective it was at keeping the masses away I have used the same “trick” every year !! Of course anyone who has regularly taken their tribe down my road will think I am either a child minder or a prolific breeder !! I just refuse to entertain anything to do with Halloween ( much to my childrens dismay !) I totally agree with you regarding November 5th…shocking…just like every other tradition in this country it seems to be disappearing in apathy. This year I am aking myself to London to see Cool Hand Luke for a matinee performance hoping to catch sight of some free fireworks in e evening…perhaps I am being a litle too optimistic !!

    • Steve Rich permalink*
      November 2, 2011 12:56 pm

      The beauty of the web – bringing like minded people together! Delighted to hear that it is indeed the foolproof scheme I thought it was.

      Also pleased anybody else feels the loss of Bonfire Night like I do. I think the apathy set in after the word “no – it’s too dangerous” was bandied about so much, alas.

      Hope you do manage to catch a few free fireworks exploding in the proud British sky indeed.

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