When I got up this morning, I had a text from a friend of mine back in Ireland.  The little snippet you can see before you actually go into the text read: “Could you do me a big favour…”   For a moment I was wondering what I could possibly help with from the other side of the world, till I saw the full text: “Could you do me a big favour? I know everyone is probably asking you, but could you lend me your face for Halloween?”.

Yes, in Ireland we never grow up – it’s part of our charm! As a kid in Ireland, Halloween is second only to Christmas and in fact it’s often better.  After six years in New Zealand I’ve become used to the fact that Halloween is not really a big deal, but in Ireland it’s a different story. 

For one thing, you’re lucky if you don’t lose your garden fence in the run up to Halloween!  For weeks beforehand, every teenager in the country is out scavenging for bits of wood (or anything else they can get!) to try and create the biggest bonfire of the year.  Huge piles of wood are gathered in every large open space available.

As a kid, you also spend weeks trying to decide on your costume.  I used to change my mind every couple of days so in the end nothing was organised and I usually wandered around the streets in some rubbish last minute costume – usually consisting of my pyjamas and a bandage on my face, head or arm (it alternated each year so it wasn’t exactly the same costume)! 

When you are all dressed and have gobbled down your dinner of colcannon, you hit the road with your pals.  It’s important to get out early before all the good stuff is gone!  Your first job is to interrogate other trick-or-treaters to find out the prime collections spots!  So you go to the houses with the toffee apples, chocolates, lollies (sweets to us!), money (the lazy option for people who couldn’t be bothered shopping – fine by us!) and then work your way down the fruit and nuts!

When your little feet can’t take any more, you head home and begin the sorting and swapping process.  That is much fun!  Apples and nuts to one side, goodies in your stomach.  Then swap all the goodies you don’t like with your friends (I should point out that this usually takes place before you’ve put them in your stomach!) till everyone’s happy!  After that it’s time to dunk for apples (you have to use them up somehow), watch scary movies and then head out for the bonfires and fireworks.

It’s not surprising that Halloween is so popular in Ireland, given that we came up with the idea!  See Wikipedia for more on that.  It doesn’t mean we’re the best at celebrating it though.  No, we took the idea to America and Canada and they had to go one better than us!  Check out these photo that a Canadian friend sent to me following Halloween in Toronto last year:


So, why not dress your house up this Halloween and give the kids in your neighbourhood a bit of treat?!  There’s plenty of time to nip down to The Warehouse and grab a bargain!  However, if you’re trying to sell your home at the moment and you’re holding Open Homes this weekend, it might not be such a good idea!

And if you need $50 to kick off your Halloween fund, then click here and take a guess at Alistair’s finishing time for the half-marathon this Sunday! If you’re not in, you can’t win!

Happy Halloween everyone  :)

October 31 2008 01:15 pm | General

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