All Hallows Eve ( Scottish Style)


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When I was young in a small town in Scotland, Halloween was a special night for all youngsters. We would be looking forward to this magical night for weeks before. In Scotland, the children who were going out to “Trick or Treat" had a bigger task than those in North America.

We had to have a “Party Piece" ready to perform at each house that we went to, this would be a dance, a song, a piece of poetry or some other form of art that we were capable of dreaming up. !

When the householder would open the door, we would be invited inside, and there, in the living room, we would face our audience ready to criticize our performance. My knees would be knocking so hard I was sure everyone could hear them and thought that that might get by as my “act" for the night, but not so.

I was a hopeless singer and could not remember any poetry so I had to dance. As the rooms in most houses were very small, and I am very tall, this was no mean feat. I decided, as I was dressed as a “Black Watch soldier" with my proper uniform of a kilt and sporran , I should dance the “Highland Fling".

This choice proved to be a disaster. !!! I started off well enough but then I lost my balance, tripped on the carpet and fell on my face. I could hear the laughter all around me which added to my embarrassment, I just wanted to die!!!

As to my audience, they just wanted to see if I had any underwear beneath my kilt ( an act that many to this day still practice!) I stood on my feet, mustered as much dignity as I could and held out my hand for my “sweet" reward. This disaster was not repeated at other houses, as I decided I would pretend that I had a sore throat, and could not perform at all.

We had a lot of fun in those days, one could enter the house of a stranger and not be afraid that we would never be seen again. We cheered up a lot of elderly people's lives as they would not normally have many visitors, even from family, so they looked forward to “All Hallows Eve" with as much anticipation as we did. These day's are gone now, we all live in such fear of our neighbours, not knowing who they really are. Not trusting our children to be out on their own, to celebrate this holiday.

When I talk to my children about the “good old days" they look at me with a cynical grin on their face, but we, as children, had the freedom that today's generation, just dont have. So are we moving forward in this world, and just where are we going to end up?

As the world has got smaller through travel, our fears have got bigger as our neighbourhoods get diversified. I lived on a street, when I was young, where I knew everyone and I could walk down that street knowing no fear, of man nor beast, I felt secure and safe. Now we are almost prisoners in our homes, fearful for our children's safety, their lives so threatened at every turn. OH! to go back to those " Good Old Days".

Written by Ena Clewes. Visit her website at .


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