Halloween is upon us. Soon, many a youngster will come knocking on my door and shout 'trick or treat' at the top of their lungs. I, being the dutiful candy slave, will open my door and fill their bags with sticky confections designed to make them hyper and send their dentists to Disneyland.
In Scotland and parts of Northern England, the tradition is called 'guising.' The principle is the same. Kids go from door to door dressed up as who-knows-what and beg for the candy. The difference is they're expected to do something for it. Normally the kids will recite a short poem or a funny joke. More talented kids might play the harmonica or sing a song, or do a card trick or something. Most kids get a treat no matter what or how well they do. They certainly would if they came to my house.
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. It's a great excuse to just step out of our everyday lives and have some fun. I love reading and telling scary stories, watching the old black and white monster movies with my kids, and just generally having fun. My kids get into it, too, and not just for the candy. They like dressing up as their favorite heroes and heroines and parading around to our neighbor's houses. This year I think I'll don a gray hooded cloak, attach some reference to spider webs, and go as the "Web Master."
Trust me. It was funny a few minutes ago.
Outside of all the sugar, I actually think it's healthy. Creating costumes is a wonderful problem solving exercise. The kids get a little exercise wandering the neighborhood. And let's face it, we all need a little more fun in our lives.