Monday, October 31, 2011

1976: Till I die

Ah, Hallowe'en.

Never really was about much when we were younger, was it? Today the shops are crammed with ghoulish goodies, but back in the Seventies you had to make your own entertainment. I never remember seeing a pumpkin on sale, not least in Safeway, and as for trick or treating, you could try but you'd be lucky.

But try we did, and people were either jolly and put the door on the latch while they sought out a few hairy Murray Mints, or sent you away with a flea in your ear for bringing commercial American ghastliness to their threshold.

Did anyone ever ask for a trick? Did they dare? I heard tales of a plastic bag with green paint and dogshit in it, with a firework attached that would explode in the face of the person at the door. But I'm convinced it was just a myth. No one I knew would go near dog shit, and fireworks were hard to come by. Knock down Ginger as about as bad as it got. But it was enormous fun, especially when we got the drunk woman who was always laughing or an unsuspecting schoolmate looking around and seeing nothing. Stifling laughter was never one of my strongpoints, though I managed to keep it hidden when the police caught us throwing gravel at a wet kid's bedroom window. And they say kids today are bored.

Playing indoors trying to find each other in the dark while the radio blared the hits of the moment was enormous fun. Every song took on a sinister tone. Even Wild Cherry and Dana. Why not try that tonight?

Happy Hallowe'en!


  1. No we never did much for Halloween - although do remember seeing a Nationwide item on suburban spooky doings which terrified the bejeezus out of me. Given my age at the time, it was probably a report on the Enfield Poltergeist..

    Dogshit tricks - ours were: pile a good few briquettes into a paper bag (using a stick), leave this on a door step, set the bag aflame - then ring the bell and run away. Much hilarity as they stamped out the fire..

    With fireworks, well bangers really - it was just stick them - 99 flake style, into a Mr Whippy dollop of doggies and watch the explosion. Never with a Knock Down Ginger combo though.

    Or for a faeces-free stunt, occasionally bury a banger in someone's library book to leave a diminishing circle of smouldering holes...

  2. You nasty delinquent boys!

    We innocent Catholics were warned off Halloween by a succession of boozy-faced parish priests, who convinced us it was possible to become possessed while playing Bob Apple. "Dere are dark forces at play, gerrrruls," Father O'Neil would intone, while trying to look up our skirts.