Monday, 31 October 2011

Two Halloweens

In the Glasgow, Scotland, of my childhood we didn't call Halloween Trick or Treat- we called it Guising, or more simply 'goin' oot fer yer halloween'. Lucky me! I was in the Brownies (Junior Girl Guides-Tuesday nights), and they always had a competition for best halloween costume. I'd scrabble around on the Monday night creating something wonderful. It was always made from discarded rags or other rubbish (garbage) and tended to be very creative. The rule was it must not cost a penny to make it! The thing was it also had to last twice. Nae bother when the Brownies Halloween party came first since I always wanted to win the prize, but it wis a richt fash (a big issue) when the real Halloween came later.

The most memorable costume is a painful memory. Witches were too boring so I decided to be a COALMAN instead. Easy costume-rolled up troosers, far too large old jaiket, bunnet fer the heid(every coalman had one), rough coal sack with bits of coal. Brilliant! Easy since we still had a proper coal fire, with real smelly smoky coal. Sprinkle the coal dust all over and voila! All done. Not quite since the face wasn't black enough. What would be better than my dad's black boot polish? Naethin' ava'. Try getting a thick layer of boot polish off hands and face before bed that night! That's where the pain came in. Sadly I don't remember winning the competition either.

Next painful bit. My mother was a stickler for sticking to plans made. You got it. I also had to redo the costume for my real Halloween a few nights later.

Going around the doors fer yer Halloween meant you'd have to sing a ditty, dae a dance, recite a poem, or tell a joke. If you did none of those you got nothing. In those days it was customary to receive an apple, a sweet, maybe a little cake or small cookie...and if you did really well with the dramatics you might get a penny or a thruppeny bit ( a brass coin that was worth 3 pence). Great stuff but try eating a cake or cookie that has been in a coal sack?



  1. Well, I bet you looked great as a coalman, it was a great idea.

    I remember trick-or-treating in Halifax, NS. There were a few people from the old country (Scotland) in our neighbourhood who INSISTED on us singing for our treats and UNICEF pennies. We soon learned to avoid those houses, LOL. Just too embarrassing.

  2. Thanks for popping in Lu/Grace. I do remember finding it embarrasing, but once I started singing it was ok since I was usually Guising with choir friends and so...not alone! We used to use it as a kind of informal choir practice.


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