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A Letter from America: Halloween

Dear Mummsy,


Greetings from the ex-colonies across the pond! 


Since this electronic email thing seems to be all the rage these days, I thought I’d have another bash at it. Personally, I don’t see what all the fuss is about. The last one I wrote took just as long to reach you as a regular letter would have – longer really, since I had to type the bally thing into my personal computer and print it out before I could post it to you. Still, I suppose we must move with the times.


How are you keeping? I got the letter and photos you put in with that last food parcel you sent over. The new drawbridge looks rather spiffy. I was sorry to hear Uncle Aubrey got sent down again. Mind you, I’m not surprised. No jury was going to believe he mistook the Roger the donkey’ sign outside the stable for an instruction, even if he was drunk at the time.


Things are going well here, though the antics of some of the locals continue to baffle me. For example, you know how back home we teach our children never to talk to (or take sweets from) strangers? Well every year, Americans do just the opposite. On the last day of October, they put their kids in fancy-dress then send them out knocking on strangers’ doors to ask for a donation – usually in the form of confectionary – in return for not having some kind of prank played upon them.


‘Trick or Treat’ they call it, though if you ask me, it sounds more like ‘Demanding candy with menaces.’


Just this morning one young scamp turned up at the door wearing a postal worker’s outfit. Needless to say, I sent him away with a flea in his ear. I told him he was much too old for such nonsense (he must have been at least twenty), and that the fake parcels he carried fooled no one.


Later this evening, all across the country, pavements will teem with costumed kiddies, their parents ambling through the neighborhood like modern day Fagins, pushing the younglings on strollers while the older children scurry back and forth collecting their swag. 


Even some of the adults dress up. Last year I was amazed to see one parent tottering up and down our street wearing six-inch heels and a rather saucy French maid’s oufit. I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping that if there’s a return visit this year, he wears something a little more suitable, or at least shaves off his beard. 


I blame Hollywood and all those motion pictures. 


Speaking of Hollywood, do you remember young Timmy Roth, cousin Bertram’s eldest? Well, I saw him on the telly the other week. He’s in some show called Lie to Me. I almost didn’t recognize him – he’s puts on a rather amusing Cockney voice, like that Van Dyke fellow in the Mary Poppins film. Still at least it’s not a phony American accent , like the ones used by Hugh Laurie, Stephen Hawking or that Regis Philbin chap.


In other news: Last week I came across a delightful beverage. The locals call it “Hard char-glet” – a delicious combination of warm milk and cocoa, topped with whipped cream. I’ll send you the recipe.


Well, I’d best be going. We’re off to lunch. This time we’re going to McDonalds – yes, they have them over here too. 


Hugs and kissy-poos from all the family,


Your obedient son,




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( 48 comments — Leave a comment )
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Oct. 31st, 2009 02:27 pm (UTC)
I was just having this discussion with a coworker who did not grow up in America - she really didn't 'get' Halloween. I think you had to live it as a child to really understand and love it. ;) That said, as much as I dislike children in general, there will be candy handed out from my house. Because people did it for me, and it's a distinctly American tradition that I feel honor-bound to carry on!

(Also, I totally want Hugh Laurie to pull out a Wooster-style 'Toodlepip!' or at least an 'I say, I say, I say!' on House one of these days...)
Oct. 31st, 2009 02:36 pm (UTC)
Oddly enough, Hugh lawrie's real accent is much more like Bertie Wooster than people would think :)
Oct. 31st, 2009 02:36 pm (UTC)
"No jury was going to believe he mistook the ‘Roger the donkey’ sign outside the stable for an instruction, even if he was drunk at the time."

Oct. 31st, 2009 02:39 pm (UTC)
Relatives, huh. What can you do? :)
(no subject) - txtriffidranch - Oct. 31st, 2009 04:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Oct. 31st, 2009 04:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - txtriffidranch - Nov. 1st, 2009 12:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 31st, 2009 02:46 pm (UTC)
You are utterly too-too, darling. Utterly too-too!

Happy Halloween!
Oct. 31st, 2009 03:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you :)
Oct. 31st, 2009 02:49 pm (UTC)
Roger the donkey.

Oct. 31st, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC)
He claims it was an honest mistake :)
Oct. 31st, 2009 03:05 pm (UTC)

Nice letter!
Did you catch last year (or was it the year before) when Hugo Chavez said something about, "Pumpkins show their emptiness?"
(Er, yes, sir. They're plants products, you know. Not exactly widely considered to be ensouled.)
Oct. 31st, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
I must have missed that one :)
(no subject) - jjschwabach - Oct. 31st, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 31st, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
I rather enjoy Dick Van Dyke's Cockney accent in Mary Poppins. I think I can safely declare that it's the one movie I've watched more than 10X.

Now I must pick out my costume for tonight, you know, to scare the kiddies.
Oct. 31st, 2009 03:52 pm (UTC)
I love the movie, but can't help but cringe at the accent :)

Happy Halloween :)
Oct. 31st, 2009 03:24 pm (UTC)
haha funny!
Oct. 31st, 2009 03:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you :)
Oct. 31st, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC)
Oct. 31st, 2009 04:11 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry, I'd be glad to answer both questions but my French is a little rusty. Would you mind translating?
Oct. 31st, 2009 04:03 pm (UTC)
Of course, we had Hallowe'en in Ireland first. Like all good things...
Oct. 31st, 2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
'...Like all good things...'

Sorry, not buying it. There's now way you lot invented McDonalds coffee :P
(no subject) - peadarog - Oct. 31st, 2009 04:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 31st, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC)
You are a total hoot! Maybe you should write comedy?

p.s. I totally agree on Dick Van Dyke's so-called accent on Mary Poppins. But then he says he was so blasted most of the time, he doesn't really recall making the movie too clearly.

Edited at 2009-10-31 04:11 pm (UTC)
Oct. 31st, 2009 04:14 pm (UTC)
To be fair, he was excellent in the role.

Besides, I've no doubt there are plenty of English actors with awful American accents :)
(no subject) - karen_w_newton - Oct. 31st, 2009 10:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 31st, 2009 04:14 pm (UTC)
It's good to know that Hugh Laurie's fake American accent isn't fooling anybody. Between him and Nicola Bryant, their American accents are almost as bad as mine.
Oct. 31st, 2009 04:19 pm (UTC)
I think you're being a tad unfair to Nicola. All that time travel is bound to affect a girl's accent :)
(no subject) - jjschwabach - Oct. 31st, 2009 07:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 31st, 2009 04:15 pm (UTC)
LOL! Demanding candy with menaces, indeed!

Oct. 31st, 2009 04:20 pm (UTC)
Happy Halloween :)
(no subject) - jdawson001 - Oct. 31st, 2009 04:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 31st, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC)
Uncle Aubrey did what? Oh, dear.
Oct. 31st, 2009 04:50 pm (UTC)
What can I tell you. There's at least one bad apple one every family tree :)
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 31st, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)
I recall being aware of Halloween in England, but not the Trick or Treating bit.
Oct. 31st, 2009 06:41 pm (UTC)
Ok! The result of reading about Uncle Aubrey's latet exploit pretty much sent hard char-glet out my nostrils. (You all on Mumsy's side of the Atlantic, by the way, were the inventors of that beverage, as a way for over-indulging [or should it be over-indulged?] 18th Century debutants out of bed the morning after.)
Oct. 31st, 2009 10:15 pm (UTC)
'...as a way for over-indulging [or should it be over-indulged?] 18th Century debutants out of bed the morning after.)...'

I didn't know that, but it sounds like a most civilized start to any day :)
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