When we old men of Britain were kids half a century or more ago, there was no 'celebration' of Halloween, instead, we stuffed newspapers in old men's clothes to make a man and asked passers by in the street for a "penny for the guy", who we would burn on the bonfire we had built on the evening of November 5th to an accompaniment of fireworks.
We probably didn't know that the original 'Guy Fawles' was the catholic 'Guido Fawkes' who, along with other plotters, was thwarted in his plan to kill protestant King James and the assembled House of Commons and reestablish the Catholic Religion in Britain on November 5th 1605.
We certainly didn't know that Guido wasn't burnt on a fire, but had his innards drawn fom his stomach, after he was hanged and before his body was 'quartered' in the execution reserved for those found guilty of treason.
Fast forward 50 years, the guys have all but gone and in has come 'Halloween' and 'trick or treat', whereby the kids knock on the doors of houses and demand either money or sweets with the threat of either throwing eggs and flour at their house or putting fireworks in their letter boxes if they refuse.
At this precise moment, 8.00 pm, hundreds of thousands of old man and women in Britain are either cowering behind their curtains with the lights off or have gone to bed early.
Not to miss an oportunity 'Saga Home Insurance', catering for the needs of old people offered the following tips for those behind curtains, that they should :
* place a friendly sign in a window or on the front door so trick or treaters will know to move on to the next house.
* leave a pot of sweets by the front door so trick or treaters can help themselves to sweets and not disturb their evening.
* use avoiding trick or treaters 'as a good excuse to get out of the house and catch up with family or friends'.
* bear in mind the insurer can 'offer some peace of mind if trick or treaters get out of hand this Halloween' and 'if spooky visitors take their tricks too', their customers 'are covered for any damage caused by malicious acts or vandalism'.
'Age UK' also offers advice to old men and women in that, they should :
* always put the door chain on and look out of the window or spy hole to see who is there before opening the door.
* take particular care if there is more than one person on their doorstep.
* if in doubt or do not feel safe opening the door, then don’t.
* if especially worried, could invite a friend or relative around for dinner because : 'a fun evening should take your mind off of unexpected callers'.
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director at Age UK, said:
“Halloween can be a particularly stressful time for some older people, particularly those who are in poor health or living alone. Noise at night and unexpected callers can cause anxiety for people who feel vulnerable. We encourage those who will be out trick or treating this Halloween to have fun but to do so responsibly and with respect.”
What a sad country Britain has become where old people are given advice about how to protect themselves aginst the threats posed by its young people 'having fun'.