Is there any chance that we can ditch "Trick or Treat and bring back "Help the Halloween Party"?
For a few of the Oscar Graves crew, Trick or Treat is synonymous with Michael Meyers in his dodgy mask, indiscriminately slashing holes in teenagers. That character in the movie Halloween is very difficult to shake off, sure didn't Laurie Strode (aka Jamie Lee Curtis) spend forty years preparing for his return. She knew he'd be back!
Now, don't get us wrong, growing up in the "Help the Halloween Party" generation provided plenty of scares. There wasn't much slashing, but death by drowning, suffocation or choking were real possibilities, if you upheld Irish Halloween traditions.
Bobbing for apples sounds like a gentle and amusing game but when the coins were thrown into the water and sank to the bottom of that basin, all bets were off. You held your breath, sank your face into the tepid pool and you didn't come up for air until that money was clenched between your crooked teeth. You knew your saliva-streaked face, wet hair and sodden t-shirt were a small price to pay for victory. You simply pocketed your winnings, dried yourself off and took pity on the next person who had to surrender themselves to remnants of your DNA that lay floating atop the now murky water.
Next stop was the press under the kitchen sink. The roll of black bin liners lived there. Once darkness fell, it was time for your metamorphosis from kid to witch. It was the only night of the year that you would hear your Mam tell you to stick a plastic bag over your head. You added your witch's mask and then grabbed the sweeping brush on your way out the front door, tucked it under your arse and flew off around your housing estate. There were advantages and disadvantage to wearing the mask . Breathing was difficult, it made your face sweat and the elastic string would kill your ears (just like now I guess), but it came in handy if you were trying to hide your disappointment when neighbours tossed monkey nuts and apples into your plastic Dunnes Stores shopping bag. Sweets were never a given but either way, you'd been warned to say thank you to those who had answered their front door and your plea, to help the Halloween party.
Every year, dinner was a dish called Colcannon. It consisted of mashed potato and curly kale. Your mother bribed you to eat it with the promise of money. She wrapped a coin in grease-proof paper and buried it in the piping hot mound - it always lay close to the bottom; which had nothing to do with gravity.
And for dessert, you got to go hunting for money again with the added bonus of receiving an update on your marital status. Along with a coin, a gold ring was hidden in the Halloween Barmbrack - a cake filled with raisins (or dead flies as we called them). It was our very own version of a "Bush Tucker Trial." The person who found the coin would be wealthy and the person who found the ring was assured a wedding. None of us ever doubted the delight of our latest love interest when you told him that he was to be wed (to you) within the year; aged 10. There were households who put in sticks, peas and pieces of cloth before baking but personally, my own Mother didn't believe that any of her three daughters should be subjected to a life of loneliness, hardship or poverty. Good one Mam!
We're not sure how well we've sold the idea of Help the Halloween Party but if you are thinking of sticking with at least one of its traditions, can we suggest that you pop a ring in a brack for someone you care about and when they find it, tell them that you will replace it with a fabulous one from Oscar Graves. Why not choose one of our Original Oscar 7 rings. Each has a very distinct style and we are firm believers that you don't choose the ring, it chooses you. Why not see for yourself. Discover your Oscar 7 this Halloween, We promise you have nothing to be scared of!
To view all of our fine jewellery, just visit us today at www.oscargraves.com.
Here's to Halloween and making new traditions.