By Katie, Year 13

Halloween – that one night of the year where knocking on a stranger’s house and asking for sweets from them isn’t deemed as weird. Seems odd to me that “stranger danger” is stressed so much, as a child especially. Yet on this one night- when children are all dressed up and some are even unrecognisable, it’s encouraged to go to strangers houses and ask for food from them.

As you may have already guessed, I am going to talk to you about Halloween, that great time of the year when everything’s creepy… and full of hypocrisy.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Halloween, and nothing could change my mind on that.

Dressing up; tricking and scaring people and of course the best part… collecting copious amounts of sweets by calling to complete strangers’ doors and putting your hand out.

My parents taught me from an early age not to talk to strangers. Also do not accept sweets because they could be maniacs intent on causing harm. Then every October 31st, my parents would dress me in an ill-fitting scream mask, out of which I could barely see, and send me out at night time no earlier to wander the neighbourhood knocking on strange doors to ask, or demand at the threat of a prank or trick, for strangers to give me candy. Wow, hypocrisy anyone? God forbid that adults miss the doorbell; they’d be the talk of the neighbourhood.

Our parents only want what is best for us, right?

How about when you don’t want to finish your dinner you will hear “there are children starving in the world” or “don’t waste your food” but on Halloween we will take these huge vegetables out and gut them, replace the insides with a candle then leave them to rot on our front porch for the next week or so. Crazy.

When I was younger, coming home with a huge bag of sweets was the best feeling in the world, I knew these sweets did not come with any rules. There would not be “you can’t eat that before dinner” or “they will rot your teeth”. These were no-rules-sweeties, and I could eat them however I pleased, for this one-night sweets did not rot your teeth, did not make you fat, and ‘diabetes?’ who’s she? You have collected enough sweets to put Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory to shame and there are no rules. None.

My younger sister, Lauren, will come into my room some nights because she is scared and will happily sleep on my floor, rather than sleep in her own comfy bed, because she feels there is someone in her room. My parents tell her there are no such thing as ghosts, monsters, it’s all nonsense. Oh, but on Halloween, this all goes out the window and it’s all monsters and ghosts – it’s everywhere, plus we have an Aunty who, being pagan, takes Halloween very seriously and her house is probably the most frightening place to be. But come November 1st, it’s back to “get to sleep Lauren, there is no such thing as ghosts.  There is nothing in your cupboard or under your bed, it’s all nonsense.” Go figure.

Halloween is a very confusing time for kids because the rules… well there aren’t many.

I have always enjoyed Halloween, and still do, but as I’ve gotten older, I have realised that it is rife with hypocrisy.

So, while you walk the streets carrying a candle lit lantern in your flammable costume that you can barely see out of, approaching the doors of strangers to ask for sweets, ask yourself, is this necessary? Is this safe? Is it right?

I imagine most parents will say “no” out of context but shove the words “Halloween” and “trick or treating” into the mix and it’s all completely fine. But who cares, because these sweeties are no-rules-sweeties and they’re free!

Now add in a pandemic and I think we will soon see an end to trick or treating for good. Sad times for some…