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Halloween reclaimed at Thackley

We were intrigued by an article that we had read in the Methodist Recorder dated 28th October 2016. This was from a Methodist minister who had tried to "Christianise" tricking and treating, and had been pleased with the response.

On the evening of 31 October 2017, we put a few welcoming electric tea lights in our front-room window. We put a low table just inside our front door, together with a lighted candle, a lot of unlit tea lights, a taper - and a large jug of water, "just in case". So, each time that we had opened the door and been suitably afraid, aghast etc and been complimentary to the urchins outside, we said that this year we wanted their help.

Would they come in and light a candle for us - whilst thinking about someone that they loved, like their grandparents? We asked that the parents would come in as well, to help their children with the taper and light a candle themselves. We explained to the parents that it was All Saints Day the following day, so would they please think about someone they loved who had died. As they all left, the children chose from a selection of sweets, as in years past.

Several parents asked whether we were Christians, then which church we were connected with. A little girl, as she walked away, told her mum that she had been thinking about those who died in wars. Another said that she had thought about her grandma. A father said that we were their favourite Halloween visit. Yet another father, as he walked down the drive with his 10 year old daughter, said to her "That is a good idea, a very good idea".

What was the result? In previous years we have normally had between 20 and 25 children, mostly with parents. This year 49 tea light were lit. 13 had been lit by parents, 28 by children and 8 by the last group, lads aged about 14 who all had identical face masks. Not a single person hesitated to do as we had asked. We assume that we had more visitors than ever before perhaps because groups that had visited us had recommended us to others. Anyway, as each group left we invited them to come again next year.

Margaret and John V Thackley

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