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October 23, 2012



Divided by a common language again! Monkey nuts are peanuts with their shells still on.

Donna Andrews

Thanks--I admit, I had to look it up!

If I were a kid, I would definitely prefer trick or treating, but now that I have reached the handing-out-candy stage, I think guising sounds much more entertaining!

Marcia Talley

Performing for candy! Why didn't I think of that? I'll give the little kids imaginatively dressed as penguins, astronauts and laptops a pass, but when those big, hulking teens show up on my doorstep and try to convince me that torn jeans and a sweatshirt are a "costume," they're gonna have to sing or do tricks for their candy.


We didn't do Halloween, just hawked Guy Fawkes around the streets, 'Penny for the guy.' Bonfire Night was the big occasion. That really was ours is bigger than yours, especially if we'd nicked chumps on Mischievous Night. (Chumps = wood, old sofas, anything that burned).

Donna Andrews

Aha. If one of my nephews ever says "Let's go out and nick chumps," I will know a) that they have been reading British children's books and b) they should be prevented from acting on what they have learned.


Yeah, we don't really go in for Bonfire Night north of the border. Someone tried to blow up the English parliament? Yeah. And? ;-) It's like Thanksgiving. People say to Neil and me "Oh no! You're so far from your families!" And we add "on this and every other indistinguishable Thursday in November." The first year, Neil scheduled an 8am class for the the Friday following and the students had to elect a representative to go and sort him out.

lil Gluckstern

This was funny, and informative. I didn't know if you did Halloween in Britain. You sure don't skimp on tradition, though, which is nice.

Charlaine Harris

I don't know that our local store (in Texas) even sells turnips. But pumpkins! You can't throw a vampire without hitting one. Or ten. I would love to see children perform for their candy, though. It's never too early to learn that you don't get something for nothing.

Karen in Ohio

Heavens, turning a rutabaga into a lantern sounds like no kind of fun at all. You Scots do everything the hard way. Is it a test of character?

And by the way, is an apple really worth all that trouble?

If we ever had trick-or-treaters come here I would follow Marcia's lead, and force the older kids to get creative.

Donna Andrews

I like the performing as a way of sorting out the older kids.

Although in some areas, there are ordinances forbidding children over a certain age to trick or treat (unless accompanying a younger sibling. My home county supposedly had one, and rumor has it that one of my cousins was responsible for its creation. He went trick or treating one year on his motorcycle, dressed as a Hell's Angel.


Lil, They didn't do Halloween in England (or Wales as far as I know) but it was always huge in Scotland. I'm guessing the Scots brought it to America - I know this is fighting talk - and now the American tradition is going back over to England. A long way round for a shortcut, if you ask me.

Kris Neri

Where I grew up (NJ), kids use to shout in a whiny, sing-song way, "Anything for Halloween?" rather than just ringing the bell and holding their bags out as they do here (AZ). I think that qualifies as performing. I have to confess to having been one of those awful teens who demanded candy, while not wearing a costume. Teenagers! Now I hate when they come to my door.

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Yeah, teenagers. But little kids in costumes? I love..I can't get enough butterflies and princesses and pirates. SO cute. ANd they are so happy as princesses, you know?

Performing does seem like a good idea..could there be Halloween caroling?

Kathy McIntosh

Delightful to know that the Scots brought traditions as well as an odd sense of humor to the U.S.
I love seeing the little ones in their costumes.
Wonder if I could get them all to sing? Nah... our candy isn't that great.


sadly the traditions you mention are disappearing in Scotland -greetings from Inverness! I haven't seen a turnip lantern for years (well, they are 10 times the effort to make). Its all pumpkins now. You forgot to mention the annual humiliation of trying to eat treacle scones off a string. My four year old refers to guising as "trickle treating". Will have to keep educating her... :o)


Noooooo, lightly singed neep smells wonderful! I did a pumpkin one year and although it was easier it didn't feel like Hallowe'en without the smell. I did two neepie lanterns this year and they only took about three-quarters of an hour total. Think that might be my Personal Best.

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