Catchy title right? As Halloween is approaching (BOO! Ha, it's only me) I thought it might be nice to share some more memories of an at times bizarre childhood.
I grew up in the countryside during the 80s where I attended the village primary school and borrowed books from a mobile library. A library on wheels. "Stop me and borrow one" it said on the back. Well, it should have done anyway.
There are several things that you can say about the countryside. There is as much grass as you can eat, as much cow shit as you can smell, and you are never more than 300 yards away from someone with questionable views on people from other countries. Racists I think they're called. In this instance they were just called villagers. Horrible racist villagers.
Now Halloween wasn't really a thing in the UK in the 80s. It existed obviously, but not celebrated in quite the same way it is now. It was that stupid American thing that stupid Americans did. Again, questionable views.
I went trick or treating in my rural village a few times. After the first I don't know why I bothered again but I persisted, sure that I was bound to get something good eventually. I was mistaken , sadly mistaken.
So here are the five worst things I was given over the last few years in the 80s. I would have between 9 and 11 at this stage. I think that's important to remember.
5. Five Pence
I know what you're thinking; 'You got money, what are you complaining about? That must be the equivalent to about £20 today.' It's not, it's worth 12p. That's still shit in 1988. A Beano was 20p. I didn't dress up as a fat Dracula (the fat part was all me) to get 5p. I had face paint on. I hated having face paint on. Didn't they realise how much discomfort I was in? Maybe I'm being a little ungrateful, there is worse to come.
What could you buy for 5p in the late eighties? It wasn't going to get me a packet of Garbage Pail Kids stickers or even a packet of Space Raiders. It's a sad time when you have to save up for a packet of Space Raiders.
4. One Murray Mint
That's right. One f***ing Murray Mint. At least it was still in its wrapper and hadn't been sucked on. Murray Mints are sweets for the old and dying, not a 9 year old fat boy. The old lady in question clearly looked at me and decided that one sweet was probably enough. This would have been after I had to explain what Halloween was. Had she not read the Garfield Halloween Special, I thought to myself. She should, it's good.
I was a very polite boy so said thank you as it was handed to me. I wasn't thinking that mind you. Naughty fat boy.
3. A packet of Rich Tea biscuits
The 39 year old me quite likes a Rich Tea biscuit with a cup of tea. Not on its own though, I'm not a monster. The pre-pubescent me however thought Rich Tea to be the shittest of biscuits. If it didn't have chocolate on it what was the point? Throw them in the bin. In this old dear's defence I was given a whole packet of them. But then being old, her cupboard was probably full of Rich Tea, fig rolls and suet pudding. She'll be long dead now but the memory lives on. The memory of my disappointment.
2. A tin of pea
I don't know about you but I loved peas as a kid. Especially peas from a tin. Oh wait, no I didn't. Imagine the young boy's fat Dracula face as he was handed a tin of peas. Are you imagining it? It's a sad sight isn't it? Sad fat Dracula.
I'm not sure what the old biddy expected me to do with them really. Well, eat them I guess. I vaguely remember the conversation.
Me: Trick or treat?
Old lady: What's that?
Me: It's a night where children go door to door and are given treats.
Old lady: Oh. I've got a tin of peas I don't want. Is that the sort of thing?
Me: A tin of peas isn't a treat you stupid old bitch! Unless I need to make an emergency risotto and am desperate for trace amounts of vitamin C!
Obviously I didn't say that last bit. I hilariously said 'thank you' and walked away wondering if my Mum needed a tin of peas.
1. A pamphlet about Jesus
Yes I was genuinely given a pamphlet telling me the benefits of bringing Jesus into my life. Included was a lecture about how what I was doing was a sin and an insult to the Christian faith. Remember the age range I stated at the start of this article. I was actually a little bit scared by the man at the door. He was being quite intimidating to the little boy just asking for some sweets. It's what Jesus would have wanted.
Jesus: Yeah you tell him. Kick him in the shins while you're at it. Fat little shit deserves all he gets! I'M JESUS MOTHER F***ER!'
So the moral of this article is don't be a sweet craving fat boy in the 1980s countryside. All you'll get is shouted at, disappointment and tinned goods. I did get an entire packet of Kit Kats as well mind. Snaffled them up double time. Have a breakdown from a stressful trick or treating experience, have a Kit Kat. As the slogan goes.
Written by Mark