Automatic post. I’m away.

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Discussion (58)¬

  1. Matt says:

    Oops typo! “Litle”

  2. JoJo says:

    He’s away. he can’t hear you. Like God, ironically.

  3. Free Speech says:

    At least you guys have the guts to include “Mohammed” in your ridicule.

  4. machigai says:

    I buy a hundred little chocolate bars every year and end up eating 90.

  5. machigai says:

    Well Somebody fixed the typo.

  6. Bruce says:

    Oh, Halloween! At first, I thought they were talking about Easter.

  7. two cents' worth says:

    Seems to me that J&M either forgot to buy candy to hand out, or want to eat all of it themselves. (Machigai, that’s why I always buy Halloween candy that I like. Heaven forbid that any leftovers go to waste–they go to my waist, instead 😉 .)

    Kids still go trick-or-treating here in the US, but always with adult supervision. (When I was a kid, we’d go in groups, but without an accompanying adult.) On Halloween these days, some tricks still get played, some adults go to costume parties, and some people visit “haunted houses,” go on “haunted hayrides,” or watch horror movies, but the holiday is mostly for kids, and is mostly about the costumes and candy. Until I saw this cartoon, I didn’t know that the tradition is alive in the UK (where, I gather, the Author lives). I think Canadian kids go trick-or-treating, too. I wonder what other countries will see trick-or-treaters this Halloween. Is this a tradition just in English-speaking communities, or in other communities as well? (I think the Mexican Day of the Dead is a separate tradition.)

    While most people in the US see Halloween as a secular holiday, the Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t let their kids participate in traditional Halloween activities, due to the holiday’s pagan origin.

  8. KennyCoo says:

    Here in the UK Halloween was not a big deal (unlike Guy Fawkes night – Nov 5th) until the film E.T. Certainly no-one went ‘trick or treating’ until then.

  9. Peter says:

    It’s pretty much the same in Canada as the US. Obviously the size / crime rate / of your neighbourhood and age of kids influences parental supervision. The night clubs have a great time of it, too. It’s kind of fun being on the subway when people are going to the bars/parties.

  10. Ann Kelley says:

    You’re wrong, Gilberson. He has it in skewers!

  11. ccdarling says:

    Um yes, my husband has already given me his order for the types of candy he likes…for me to give out to our nonexistent trick-or-treaters on our block.

  12. HaggisForBrains says:

    Trick-or-treat is an American perversion of the Scottish “guising”. As a child I used to go guising around the neighbourhood, dressed in a costume. We had to earn our treats (nuts, fruit, and occasionally sweets and money) by doing a party piece – sing a song, recite a poem, or tell a joke. We would often carry a turnip (swede) lantern, made in much the same way as a pumpkin lantern. Nowadays the supermarkets stock pumpkins specifically for making lanterns, but back then they were not available in Scotland.

    Many Scots resent the importation from the US of what is essentially a junior extortion racket. We had to earn our treats!

  13. Nassar+Ben+Houdja says:

    Silly, to sit in the dark, probing an orifice
    Makes them look grasping and of misguided purpose
    Instead of trying to save nothing for future debate
    Get off your cheap ass, get out and participate
    These deadbeats are an act in their own miserable circus.

  14. Max T. Furr says:

    I simply cracked up with this one. It is a direct reflection of my wife. I love Halloween, but my wife hates the fact that I don a scary mask and scare the kids as the door opens. Fortunately for her and unfortunately for me, we moved to a new house which is fairly secluded, and get no more tricker treaters. Boo! I miss my fun!

  15. tfkreference says:

    My daughter once gave a Halloween worksheet from kindergarten to a girl at her afternoon Montessori school to color. The girl turned out to be the child of some Jehovah’s Witnesses. So, yes, she got in trouble for giving literature to a JW.

    (No big deal, actually, and I loved the irony.)

  16. Jobrag says:

    For about the first time I’m entirely in agreement with J and M.

  17. Michael says:

    HaggisForBrains has it all wrong.

    In colonial times, in Boston, Massachusetts, there was an itinerant hot dog salesman named Horatio. He was much beloved because of his habit of wandering the town in outlandish costumes and giving out free samples to all the boys and girls. One October 31st, there was a terrific storm, a true nor’easter. Horatio had gone out to sell his frankfurters without his sou’wester and got swept out to sea.

    All the Bostonian children were saddened by this, so to cheer them up, the town council instituted a holiday in which costumed children would go from door to door collecting hot dogs. However, since the town frankfurter salesman was now dead, they had no hot dogs to give out. So they decided to give out candy instead. The day was named after Horatio’s call when he was selling his hot dogs: “Hallo! Weenies!”

  18. Mary2 says:

    Twocents, some people ‘celebrate’ Halloween in Aust but not many and not in a big way. The shops all sell plastic skeletons and pumpkins but it’s mainly time for a party rather than pumpkin carving or the other traditions of the USA. Kids go trick or treating but not many and few houses are decorated. The last few years I’ve had one family of kids arrive and, like machigai, I eat most of the chocolate myself. Like Haggis says, there is also a lot of backlash against US cultural imperialism as Halloween has definitely come to Aust via US television and was not known here previously.

  19. Grindlay says:

    There seems to be a consensus that Halloween has its origins in the Celtic/Gaelic Samhain which was a harvest festival, and in common with the spring equinox and winter solstice, it was later pirated and re-named “All Hallows Eve” by christianity. The European and US traditions seems to have evolved separately, but the Scottish poet Robert Burns embraced the spirit of Halloween in his poem of the same name in 1785, so the Scots (and Irish) can have some legitimate claim in being up for it from the start, with the US catching up in the late 19th century.

  20. Halloween is just another American excuse, fueled by relentless marketing, to feed the pathological and inevitable road to obesity.

    “We are marching to the cliff and it will crumble under our weight before we can walk off it.”

  21. milobear says:

    I’m surprised that no-one has mentioned the customs that I knew around Halloween. At home in the north of England, we would celebrate Halloween with things like Bobbing for Apples in a vat of water – that is, trying to get apples that were floating in water, but using only ones teeth. Or racing against another person to eat an apple suspended by a string – no hands allowed again. And we always had roasted chestnuts, and as someone mentioned, Turnip lanterns. It always seemed rooted in a harvest festival then – maybe mention of witches, but nothing else. Now it seems to have descended into this gothic mock horror sort of thing, and in my eyes has lost its meaning.
    I never liked the “trick or treat”ing culture that seems to have completely overtaken Halloween now… but now, thinking about it, it is probably not that different to the “Cob Coaling” that we did in the week after Halloween, leading up to Guy Fawkes Night!

  22. JohnM says:

    The only day of the year when I can feel a sense of compatriotism with Jehovah’s Witlesses.

    For those imagining there are countries one can escape to, let me tell you France is not one. In our little village the local school teachers take the brats onto the streets to perform their acts of daylight ( yes, in school time) robbery. Later, when they grow up, they’ll become bankers or hedge fund managers, I suppose. Talk about the importance of early learning.

  23. Empiricist says:

    About the beginning of the tradition of “guising” or mugging random strangers for candy, you are, of course, all entirely inaccurate.
    The tradition began in deepest Transylvania when the skeletal assistant to the demon lord, Dracule, would put on his cloak, pick up his sack of goodies (toffee apples, chocolate skulls and jelly worms among them) and circulate among the villages in his dread lord’s domain to celebrate the Feast of Balthain.
    The minion of the dark master would, for one night only, give up his practices of grave-robbing for parts, kidnapping girls for the blood drives and other scientific endeavours and be really nice to the villagers.
    He would offer to entertain them with a magic trick, a song or a dance or to offer them a treat.
    The celebrations, as these things tend to do, became democratised and were corrupted when villagers spread out into the wider world but some semblance of the holiday remained. The tricks, the treats – though now they flow in the wrong direction – and the disguising of one’s appearance.
    And, at least partly, the name. The dark lord’s servant was, like many in the region, named Ethan. The “th” sound was often dropped when the villagers mixed with the babbling masses in the New Worlds and he was often referred to by a nickname that marked his undead status; he was called “Hollow Ian”.

    And that truly is the most dreadful telling of the origin of the holiday.

  24. Empiricist says:

    No, I am not ashamed.

  25. HaggisForBrains says:

    Empiricist – you should be 😉

    milobear – yes, in Scotland it’s dooking (ducking) for apples. How about the treacle scone, which as its name implies was a large scone or potato scone, liberally coated with treacle, and dangling from the ceiling on a string. We had to try to get a bite out of it with our hands tied behind our backs. It was messy, but fun!

    As Halloween fell just a few days before Guy Fawkes night (5 November, with bonfires and fireworks, for the Merkins here), we used it as a means to collect donations for buying fireworks.

  26. Empiricist says:

    HfB, well, I’m not, so there!

    It sounds like I missed out on all the fun. I never celebrated anything when young. I don’t think our family believed in “happy”. Nothing religious or any of that rot, we just didn’t do holidays. I’m not even sure I remember us doing weekends. It had nothing to do with poverty, either, just lack of interest.
    I don’t think we ever even bothered to watch “Two hundred and fifty years of the one-half Ronnie Christmas Special” at Easter.
    Though I do quite like the movie that precedes it. The one with the Romans and that guy who does the cross-hanging trick. I used to watch that one quite often when I had TV access.

    Like the Jawee’s Witless lot and the Mormons, the local dwarves have decided my little hovel is too scary to approach in the dark, even with massive parental backup. It means I’ll have peace on Friday, and over the weekend, but it also means I don’t get to scare the midgets.
    Though that may well be a good thing.

  27. Welshman says:

    Last year, there was a knock on the door.
    I opened it to see a little vampire, about four foot tall – pale skin, blood-stained fangs, slicked-back hair, trailing black cape.

    “Trick or Treat” he ventured.

    I stabbed him through the heart with a wooden stake. Can’t be too careful.

  28. plainsuch says:

    “The one with the Romans and that guy who does the cross-hanging trick”

    By Monty Python, wasn’t it?

  29. Mary2 says:

    Welshan, That made me giggle!

  30. HaggisForBrains says:

    I moved into a cemetery lodge house this spring, so am now wondering how many kids will be brave enough to knock on my door; particularly as I’ve added a truly ugly grotesque at the front steps. Perhaps anyone who gets to the front door deserves a box of Thorntons.

  31. Kevin+Alexander says:

    I hand out those little airline bottles of booze. Kids love ’em.
    Candy’s dandy but gin don’t rot your teeth.

  32. Empiricist says:

    No, plainsuch, I don’t think so. I’ve never liked MP’s work. I’ve never found it funny. They don’t seem to be laughing with the under-beings but laughing at them. Mocking the afflicted in a harsh and cruel way with much sneering. And, to MP, “afflicted” seems to mean anyone who didn’t go to Eton.
    The MP troupe appear to be very like our current crop of politicians.
    I know that’s probably an unfair comparison but it is how they impress me.

    The movie I’m thinking of has guys in skirts and capes, women in lovely filmy dresses showing loads of bouncy cleavage and some bloke doing a magic trick on a wooden support cross. If it helps, it’s on during most Easter’s and it’s about 72 hours long. Maybe longer. Oh, and there’s horses in it. And fruits. And maybe some trees, though it isn’t a “Tarzan” movie.
    I don’t think it’s an early “Superman”, in spite of the capes.

  33. two cents' worth says:

    Empiricist, are you thinking of Ben Hur ( Or, perhaps, The Robe (

  34. Empiricist says:

    Aaaahh! That’s it!. Thanks!
    It’s “Being Her in a Robe in Rome at Easter”.
    Lovely film. Great lyrics. Smashing SFX. And those gerbils are just the most talented actors Hollywood ever employed.

  35. JohnM says:

    Empiricist Mocking the afflicted in a harsh and cruel way with much sneering. And, to MP, “afflicted” seems to mean anyone who didn’t go to Eton.

    I suppose the Python’s mock themselves then, as none of them were at Eton. In fact, only one went to a minor public school, Michael Palin at Shrewsbury, the rest were plain old Grammar school types. However, they all admit to being fans of the Goon Show and it’s script writer/performer Sir Terence (Spike) Milligan, and that was as anti-establishment as it comes. Perhaps you need to watch a few re-runs on YouTube and try to discover the comedy which you apparently missed.

  36. plainsuch says:

    “Being Her in a Robe in Rome at Easter”

    That explains it, the xians around here would be howling outrage at a transvestite Cruciversary show. Although they do seem to love Mel Gibberson’s snuff film ” The Bloody Passing of Christ”. I don’t know if there’s any bouncing busoms in it or not. I’m not xian so I didn’t have to pay to endure it.

  37. Empiricist says:

    ” The Bloody Passing of Christ”, wasn’t that about a urinary tract infection? Or a large, sharp, stool?

    Is anyone else thinking “ouch”?

  38. Empiricist says:

    JohnM, I have many, many better things to do than to try to glean humour from something I already decided wasn’t funny. I could count my toenail clippings, watch the wallpaper blanche in the sunlight, cook up excuses not to do any gardening or many, many more fruitful endeavours than dredging up fifty-year old “comedy” on Google’s TV channel.
    Anyway, if I want to be amused I could always tune into the Parliament Channel. Not that I actually *can* do that, as I don’t have live TV feeds but I *could* should I ever feel the need to.
    First, I’d have to rescue the aerial leads from that triffid.

    On the true origin of the holiday of today, Friday, I did think of telling of the old USAlien version which has the origin of disguising oneself being born in Gotham at the height of the era of costumed heroes. It became traditional in that town, as a joke, to assume that the city’s greatest philanthropist costumed-up and became one of the more famous of the masked crime-fighters. While totally absurd, the jest was delicious enough to become common currency even in towns devoid of caped vigilantes. And so the holiday celebrated to commemorate the work of the heroes was eventually known far and wide by a corruption of the traditional greeting uttered when one sees one of the cowled ones: “Hello, Wayne”.

    I did think of relating the Germanic origin tale, which involves some fish, two goats and Helen’s wine, but that one isn’t fit for a family cartoon.

  39. oldebabe says:

    Not everyone has the same funny bone. Obviously…

  40. plainsuch says:


    I think it did involve a euro-gentile disorder.

  41. Mahatma Coat says:

    Kevin+Alexander, wasn’t it “candy’s dandy, liquor’s quicker”. Has an Ogden Nash ring to it, but maybe not. Who would look at little wrinkled thing in a crib and say “Yes, Ogden it is then”. And the tall wise man who banged his head on the lintel on the way in. “Jesus!”, he expostulated, and the woman in the corner said, “That’s a good name, I was going to call him Sam.”

  42. Empiricist says:

    oldbabe, are you insinuating and implying that I’m less than brilliantly hilarious and should stop trying? Or am I inferring something not implied?
    Either way, you’re probably right.
    Stand-up never was my favourite position. I prefer sitting down and taking it easy.

    plainsuch, I was thinking of riposting with “Euro-kay in my book” but I’d hate to be that obvious.

    Now that we’ve got the micro-mugger holiday season out of the way, is it time for the stores to celebrate by trying to sell us Easter eggs, yet?
    We’ve already suffered the Christmas “bargains” for what seems like centuries where I live.

    Christmas is really a bit pish when no one likes you, no one visits, you don’t have TV, there’s no one to buy all those wonderful gifts for, no one is going to buy any for you and you hate all of those bloody jingly, cheery songs that the PA in Town insists on playing. Also, when you’re not allowed to eat bloody mince pies and the shops sell nothing else for six months.
    Roll on Valentine’s Day. Yet another good season for us hermit curmudgeons to whinge about.

    Thinking on it, I don’t like any holiday much. And don’t get me started on bloody birthdays.

  43. Mahatma Coat, I think it might have been Dorothy Parker. My favourite story about her is that she named her canary Onan because he spilt his seed upon the ground.

    Ah, no. You were right. It was Odgen Nash. Figures that Google would know. 🙂

    BTW, it seems Ogden was, in today’s climate, making a rape joke there. Using alcohol to get sex from a woman is now considered rape. And before everybody jumps on this, let me say rightly so. If a woman won’t do you when she’s sober, you’ve got no business getting her drunk. That’s taking advantage of a reduced capacity for decision making.

  44. hotrats says:


    There are two versions of ‘sober’ in this arena; unintoxicated and inhibited. While it is nice to think that a woman will do you (your phrase) while not under the influence of any noxious substance, it is sheer wishful thinking to hope that she will ever do you while feeling inhibited. I think dear Ogden was making a point about disinhibition, not intoxication, and in this case ‘candy’ really is a relatively slow and unreliable path to ‘Oh all right then’.

  45. blackflag1961 says:

    The title of the poem is ‘Reflections on ice-breaking.’ Hardly mentions rape at all.

  46. oldebabe says:

    You’re reading something into something that isn’t there, Emp. I was just making a general statement that not everyone thninks the same things are funny – sort of a `duh’, no doubt, as this may appy to almost anything. I’m with you (and possibly the J & M latest cartoon – or am I missing the intent?), completely, tho, about not caring much for the current candy begging that is part of this so-called holiday, and other `holidays’ – again, in general.

  47. Mahatma+Coat says:

    DH, am I getting her drunk or is she getting herself drunk? Assuming that the she in question is a normally competent adult and was aware of the inhibiting affects of alcohol, could I not run the defence that she was complicit in the outcome? My broader point (??) is that competent adults should take responsibility for their actions and that it shouldn’t all be loaded onto the bloke who was just doing what God designed him to do. (I didn’t put that capital g in there!). No, I don’t think that the design idea gives carte blanche to all behaviours of the kind and that ordinary morals do come into it. I’m just saying…

  48. Mahatma+Coat says:

    As an aspiring curmudgeon, I dips me lid to Empiricist. I know when I’m bested. Are well, next year for the Curmudgeon of the Year title.

  49. Mahatma+Coat says:

    DH, re one of your comments in ‘Previous’, yes there is something about Mary 2 and if I ever were on her coast, I would wish to have a coffee with her.

  50. Mahatma Coat and Hotrats et al, yes indeed. I would hardly want to ban alcohol from seduction or courtship. I myself have employed it, on occasion, on my own inhibitions. Sometimes one needs some Dutch courage before entering into a risky relationship. And it is effective.

    “I like to have a martini,
    Two at the very most.
    After three I’m under the table,
    After four I’m under my host.”
    ?Dorothy Parker, The Collected Dorothy Parker

    But I think the purposeful use of alcohol as a date rape drug has been all too common and should be discouraged. And of course it works both ways. That lonely commercial traveller might not end up with a regrettable stranger beside him in the morning if he’d had a bit less to drink the night before.

    Mahatma Coat, yes. I am a sapiosexual, and Mary2 shows a lot of intellilgence. If you find her attractive, perhaps you are a sapiosexual yourself.

  51. Empiricist says:

    oldbabe, we’re cool, yes?
    I am glad the micro-mugging month is over but rather alarmed when I chance to wander out of an evening and encounter the special effects from “Independence Day”, “World War Zed” and “Deep Impact” all happening at once every night for the next month.
    I will never understand why we *celebrate* the life and times of some berk who failed to blow up Parliament. Surely, at this solemn occasion, we should be wearing ashes and rending our raiment and gnashing our teeth amid wailing and weeping?
    Now, had he succeeded

    DH,, I offer:
    “one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor …”
    as the only drinking song I’m intimately familiar with though I have been told that my rendition of “Oh, Flower of Scotland”, when “sung” at full volume at whitthefark o’clock after a night of massive imbibing can bring tears to the eyes of a stone plinth.
    A fact that surprises me as I don’t even like the ditty when I’m more sober, and not something to which I am able to testify from personal experience.

    On the subject of intelligent ladies, yes.
    Why would anyone want anything lesser? Bright babes are fun.

  52. Empiricist says:

    “sung” being a term of somewhat extraordinary flexibility including anything from a dyspeptic, flatulent camel to the dissonances of the sudden release of a previously backed-up drainage system, not necessarily having any connection to anything that could be described as “music”.

  53. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Empiricist, you are mistaken.
    The whole charade is to warn against persons entering parliament with honest intentions.
    Caroline Lucas will likely be next.

  54. hotrats says:

    Let’s not forget that Fawkes was a religious terrorist – his intention was to kill the king and restore a Catholic monarch. I wonder how many devout bead-rattlers unknowingly burn an effigy of a Catholic martyr on Bonfire Night?

    This tradition could be updated to reflect distaste for all religious terrorism – the IS flag particularly would be delight to see going up in smoke.

  55. WalterWalcarpit says:

    I am with you there, Hotrats

  56. hotrats says:


    We might also consider that the Boko Haram (Books are Unclean) leader would make a splendid up-to-date guy – dressed in rags in the original, so cheap – preferably with that admonitory index finger of his pointing forward as ever, to provide a convenient point of ignition with a blowtorch, and a full-size model AK47 rammed up the fundament to hold him upright; not so much the celebration of a martyr, more a symbolic enactment of a dear wish for the near future.

  57. Empiricist says:

    WalterWalcarpit, I am not mistaken. I am never mistaken. I am sometimes wrong by way of being misinformed and am frequently at a complete loss due to there being no information available.
    I have said those two dreaded three-word phrases many times: “I am wrong” and “I don’t know”; phrases no politician, priest or Boko berque-let would ever utter.
    But on the subject of little Guido and his cronies I am almost sure I’m totally correct, we’re celebrating a failure. Whether the failure was a good failure which led to good things or a bad failure which led to oppression and evil is a matter of some debate.
    Though debating it in England could, under some anti-terror proposals mentioned in earlier comment lists, be treason and subject to harsh penalties. Unless, of course, one takes the stance that parliament is always a good thing.

    It has been said that poor Guido was the only man ever to enter Parliament with a good idea and good intentions but *I* would never propose this.

    hotrats, there is a sub-culture in the US of A which would have us believe that “book lurrnin” is bad, that all you need is the bible and what Gran’pappy teaches you. “Boko Harem” means the same thing. I am quite sure the happy little Rednecks would be horrified to know that they are promoting the cause of Africans but they unknowingly are.
    Isn’t harmony a wonderful thing?

    Verily, ’tis the hour of the witching and the works of fire and thunder seem to have stopped for a short time. As it is now Thursday, the sixth day of November, I can probably relax until Friday evening. No doubt the banging and clashing and zooming will restart then and continue until early on the morning of Monday.
    But the weekend needs a name. Fireworks Weekend? Guido’s Revenge Days? The Feast of Gralthor?

    And, hotrats, I’m fairly in tune with the idea of mocking ISISATL or whatever cutesy name we’re using today to avoid embarrassing USAlien corporations but I don’t think we show start flag-burning. Truthfully, I didn’t know they even have a flag until you mentioned it. I thought they were just a bunch of terrorist loonies; but I suppose even terrorist loonies can have their own flag. Still, I don’t agree with flag-burning. It’s too American, too cute and cliché. We should, instead, burn lots of green wood on nice, warm bonfires to produce a nice smoky air and cook bacon, shrimps and crab in Scotch and beer sauces over the bonfires. Smoked lobster and sake.
    And toast ISISATL with much imbibing of ports, sherries, chocolate liqueurs and Pernod Blacks. I’m not sure what that last is but I am fairly certain the fun-killers in Araby wouldn’t approve.
    Especially if we also had nude mixed-gender, mixed trans-gender, mixed hugging-of-genders dancing around the bonfires.
    It won’t be too cold for that this weekend will it?
    Video footage to YouTube marked “FAO ISISATL Leaders”.
    Yes, I, too, can be cruel.

  58. Robert+Andrews says:

    I suppose if trick-or-treaters really wast to scare some body this year, they could go door-to-door carring an ISIL flag. Or with a bomb like vest strapped on.

    “It ain’t the parts of the bible I don’t undersatnd that bother me,it’s the parts that I DO understand that bother me”–Mark Twain


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