Hallowe'en. Guisers. None of your 'trick-or-treat' nonsense - that's American. Guisers had to go round in the rain and the dark and sing songs or recite a poem or be especially wonderfully dressed so as to elicit admiration and reward without the need to perform. Whatever you think is the right pursuit on this evening, I have never, ever done it.
When I was very small, we went out to friends in the next close (wally closes, if you're interested in such cultural minutiae) who hung treacle scones from the pulley in the kitchen and who dooked for apples both ways - the fork held between the teeth and dropped on the basin full of floating apples from the back of a wooden kitchen chair, or the whole head plunged recklessly into the basin to pick up apples with the teeth. My mother always opined that our hostess had the advantage as she had none of her own teeth and the false ones (we didn't call them wallies, we who lived in wally closes - too vulgar) were stronger than my mother's real ones. It was an occasion for much mess, much wet hair, and considerable hilarity. We always thought the adults were having more fun than us, but perhaps they weren't drinking chilly orange squash on a chilly October night.
But I was never, ever, allowed to go out guising. In fact, I don't recall ever dressing up - though I do remember sending no 1 son out to school as a mini punk with green gelled hair (food dye and my gel) and no 2 son almost passing out under my mini cape (floor length on him) when he was Darth Vader because of the heat at a Sunday School party. (This in the days when there were children in the church). But they didn't go out round people's doors either.
And that is probably why our hall light is off and the door firmly shut, and why no 2 son has already Tweeted a dare to any hapless child to ring his bell tonight. Just shows you how conditioned we all are by what happened all these years ago.
I wonder if kids went guising in the blackout?