5 November 2015

Bonfire night, halloween and goodbye to "penny for the Guy"???

For former pupils of St Peter's School, York like me, 5th November is an annual reminder of our deprived childhood.

Because Guy Fawkes also went to the school, as too did some of the other gunpowder plotters, bonfires and fireworks were banned - on the grounds that burning an old boy was deemed to be 'bad form'.

Some years ago, whilst listening to some primary school children reading on 5th November, my wife told one of the children that her husband had gone to the same school as Guy Fawkes.

"Oh" said the child, "Did he know him?"

It seems that Bonfire night has been progressively eclipsed by Halloween night - a rather new import from the USA. The first time I heard "trick or treat" was about 35 years ago, and that was only because we lived near a US air base in Oxfordshire - and were visited by American children. 

The whole thing now seems to have got completely out of hand with fancy dress, pointed hats and pumpkin lanterns. There have even been some nasty accidents with cheap outfits catching fire. But not as many as there once were when anyone of any age could buy as many bangers and rockets as they liked.

So maybe we Old Peterites now have a valid reason for not bothering to feel deprived about not going out on a cold wet night to watch a fireworks display. 

I do still miss children asking for "a penny for the Guy?" - which i haven't heard for quite a few years.....