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“Halloween’s coming on and the Goose is Getting fat
Will you please put a penny in the old man’s hat,
If you haven’t a penny, a ha’penny will do
If you haven’t a ha’penny God Bless you,
And your old man too.”

The above little Irish traditional rhyme in its gentility shows how non aggressively Irish children in former years used to approach neighbours doors asking for Halloween goodies, an apple, nuts, a piece of apple cake or even a “ha-penny (Half a Penny), so unlike this newly adopted American “Trick Or Treat” fad, there is a lot to be said for tradition .. especially our lovely tradition of story telling at Halloween.

A wee witch with a pointed cap
Knocked on my door with a rap, rap rap,
When I went to open it she was not there.
She was riding on her broomstick high up in the air.

Another popular wee old Belfast street song, often used by girls in skipping games went …..

“ Granny in the kitchen doing a bit of stitching
In comes the bogeyman and chases Granny out
Ahh says Granny that’s not fair ,
Ahh says the bogeyman I don’t care.”

Most grannies will recognise the wee rhymes above and I’m sure with a bit of coaxing they will sing them to you younger readers and with further luck they will recite Halloween stories from their childhoods, of the “apple ducking” when apples were put in a basin of water and kids had to duck their heads in the water, with their hands behind their backs and pick up an apple with their teeth, and if very lucky they would grip the apple that has a silver Thruppenny (3 pence) piece stuck in it. Apples would be hung from a doorway again with a silver thruppenny piece hid in them and children, with their hands behind their backs would try to bite into the swinging apple and extract the coin. Back then Halloween was very much a children/family occasion. In this wee special Rushlight I have pulled together many stories, about witches , ghosts and hauntings and of course laced with history and folklore , I hope the reader enjoys them and shares them with friends and family ….Happy Halloween.

Re: Halloween

That well brought back memories Joe, Used to sing it every Halloween with my granda's auld scoop going door to door in what was called Glenard.

Thanks for the memories.

Re: Halloween

Hello Joe,

I was raised in the farm country of Ontario. As children, we also did the face dipping for apples in a tub of water. I am wondering if this was a custom brought from Ireland. At that time, the majority of farmers were of Irish descent.

Re: Halloween

xcuse me sir dont u call me an old granny even if i am lol me dont need halloween 4 visits ha x

Re: Halloween

is it that hard 2 believe loved ones stay in contact i know it 4 sure x

Re: Halloween

any good news eeeek x

Re: Halloween

I think the innocence in "Halloween" is not so innocent anymore. Not like your time in the country, Nell. Over here there's as many older ones dressing up as kids now and its a great opportunity for some of them to commit crime, so its a real dodgy time here. you read about it in the papers next day. Also a lot of candies and apples are tampered with, like putting pins and blades in apples and candies. Its totally unbelievable what some
weirdo's do. That's why less and less kids go around now.
By the way I think you've gone under the radar!!

Re: Halloween

Hiya Nell, Rusty, Mackers, Theresa and Bobbie...
I have the fondest memories of Halloween as a child, but lately each year you hear more of kids putting lit fireworks through old peoples letter boxes and things like that, kinda sad it is.

Re: Halloween

Your right, Joe. It truly is sad, It used to be a real fun time for kids. I remember very well singing the "ditties" you referred to and I always made sure I sang them in such a way that I was guaranteed to get something to shut me up. Yes, indeed those were the days, but now it never goes over without crime of all sorts that night. Its getting so bad that there are concerned groups lobbying to ban "Halloween" over here. Parents go around now with their kids to try and keep them safe. I think myself, if its going down hill then it would be safer to phase it out altogether. Its just an opportune time now for weirdo's to commit crime.
Having said that Joe I hope,you and all your readers have a fun "Halloween"