Having spent a lot of my very early childhood in Calgary, Canada, it was a bit of a shock to try trick-or treating on the streets of Belfast in 1983.

Son no.1 giving it Dracula.
Son no.1 giving it Dracula.

 

The fond memories of going door to door collecting pillow-cases full of candy in a leafy suburb of a peaceful Canadian city quickly faded as I walked through the troubled streets of the lower Falls in Belfast.

The atmosphere was never quite relaxed, and you didn’t venture beyond a few streets. I don’t have too many fond memories of this era, but thankfully, I don’t have too many bad ones either. It really was different though.  You didn’t even expect, nor wanted for that matter, any sweets. Nope, the good kids of Earlscourt Street actually expected money for a song!  The songs were a bit different too:

“Halloween is coming and the goose is getting fat. Could you please put a penny in the old man’s hat? If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do. If you haven’t got a ha’penny…god bless you”.

Irish Halloween fact of the day: The Irish version of the Grim Reaper is known as the Banshee. A ghostly woman who appears as someone in the household is about to die.

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