The UK hasn’t accepted Halloween or Trick or Treat as part of their culture for very long; In fact I remember as a child, the idea of Trick or Treat was largely an American idea, that most UK kids aspired to do, but their parents – afraid of demonic possession, mostly wouldn’t let their kids go out on Halloween night.
My mother was one of those parents who told Gina an honorary aunt that “if my girl comes home with a demon spirit inside her, you’ll be to blame”! I was ten years old when I first went Trick or Treating and I only went twice in my life, because by and large most British folks are aggressive about people knocking on their doors.
I remember lots of people hurling abuse at me and the other kids, swearing at us, chasing us off with brooms or dogs!
Things have changed slightly since my Henry was born, he has managed to go Trick or Treating, but as soon as he was 10yrs old, people started getting mean – because here in the UK you can only go Trick or Treating if you so happen to be under the age of 11 or look it – or are accompanied by younger looking children with you. If you don’t look young enough you are shooed away like some stray animal.
At least one in every four or five doors they either won’t open to you, or they will shout abuse at the kids.
It is becoming quite common in this area lately that at Halloween the local JWs start their rounds in the hope to turn people against their evil ways of encouraging their children to do “Trick or Treat activities”.
It’s so sad.
I remember when Henry was in his primary/junior school that they used to do a Halloween party for the kids every year, as soon as Henry goes to High school from the age of 11, it’s like everybody expects them not to be kids anymore – none of those fun things anymore. No summer fetes, no Christmas fairs, no summer bouncy castles, no Halloween, Christmas or Easter parties, no Christmas card post box for your friends… I don’t get it. Why 11?
I complained to other parents about the unfairness of the huge culture change from junior to high school, they all seem to think along the same lines as the authorities, it’s time to grow up now!
But they’re only 11!
Henry has a lot of depression because of this, it seems to him that the whole world expects the fun to stop now and he is made to think about his career already. When I was in school, they didn’t make me think about what career I wanted until I was 14 – now Henry is expected at 12 to have a firm grasp at what he wants from his life.
He is still dithering from cook, doctor, accountant, marathon runner or actor.
Despite the school pressurising him to grow up, he feels he has less freedom in high school than he did in junior school – in junior school he was a play leader for younger children, this school doesn’t have anything like that – instead they have prefects which are usually the most popular kids in the school as it is done by a voting system.
Henry was certainly the most popular child in primary and junior school, but since moving into high school, he has a small group of friends who are all considered over-achievers and are mostly bullied for it.
It’s so sad they make them grow up so fast here, a couple of my American friends on twitter can’t believe that the UK is so culturally backward as to be mean to children of a certain age at Halloween over a piece of candy.
One of my dreams since childhood was to leave the UK for America or Canada, but things didn’t turn out that way for me. I always though, that although schools are not as secure as ours in regards to violence etc., they definitely do more for children and giving personal choices to children than UK schools do. Because here in the UK, most children are educated like they are clothed in school, uniformly, no deviation from curriculum and certainly very limited choices if any and hardly any after school clubs ran at the school.
Most high schools in the UK are expected to run from 8:30am to 4pm for five days a week, a 15 minute morning break and a 30 minute lunch break and that is all they get, well at my Henry’s school in any case.
I’ve never liked it, Paul and I did plan to move to Canada’s Prince Edward Island, when Henry was 3, but that fell through big time!
Anyway, happy reading!
One response to “British kids miss out”
Halloween has become more evil in the USA. costumes are more evil.than when I was a kid. The police patrols the villages all night. Candies get laced and its common for people to line up at the hospitals to have the candies run through the X ray machines. Teenagers still go door to door. Nobody cares how old you are. The next morning we find pumpkins smashed in the streets and candy wrappers all over the sidewalks. There’s nothing cute and innocent about Halloween