Fiona Duff: Treat this American trend with contempt

Hallowe'en guisers visit a night watchman in the Grassmarket in 1957
Hallowe'en guisers visit a night watchman in the Grassmarket in 1957
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Things that get me annoyed part 376. It’s the Americanisation of Hallowe’en that needs to be stamped on sharpish in my opinion. Long before people went trick or treating, kids in Scotland went guising. I know this to be true because I remember dressing up, learning a spooky poem and then returning home with enough monkey nuts to see me through the following 12 months. And that was a fair while ago.

So it seems that these days the doorbell rings and standing outside will be a group of children holding buckets shaped like pumpkins which they expect us adults to fill.

Strictly eye candy Danny Mac. Picture: PA

Strictly eye candy Danny Mac. Picture: PA

There’s usually no suggestion that they might do something to earn the bags of Haribo and Smarties, just an outstretched arm.

Those who are brave enough to darken my doorstep are lined up and asked for a joke or ditty. I mean where do they think all those satsumas come from? They don’t grow on trees. Well, actually they do, but not in my back garden – the ones on my table have been bought with hard-earned cash from Lidl.

And as for these evil clowns who seem to have been roaming the streets for the past couple of weeks scaring the bejeezus out of anyone they encounter?

In my mind anyone who dresses as a clown, apart for a fancy dress party, probably has psychological problems, although that is just a personal opinion. I am not sure if they have hit the streets of Edinburgh yet but if they approach me they can expect a clip around the ear or a knee in the gnadgers, depending on my mood.

I have nothing against having fun on Hallowe’en as one night of the year. But when I see shops festooned with spiders, cobwebs and witches from the beginning of October I know it has just become yet another marketing ploy to sell plastic rubbish to children and ridiculous adults.

So let’s take back ownership of October 31. Anyone north of the Border saying “trick or treat?” should be given 100 lines and detention – and be told that Father Christmas won’t be coming to see them. Because on November 1 you can bet your bottom dollar that all those shops will be taking down the spiders and replacing them with Santas, reindeer and snowflakes. That’s number 377 on my list of annoyances.

Now Danny’s the boy for me

You may or may not be aware that I am a bit of a fan of Strictly; it does brighten up an autumn evening when you see all those sequins.

There are always a couple of contestants that catch one’s attention. This year it’s that Danny Mac who is the eye candy. Apparently he is a television presenter, although I have no idea on which channel he appears as I have never seen him before.

There’s something ridiculously handsome about him, like a better looking young Pierce Brosnan (and that’s not something I ever thought I would write apart from on a Christmas wish list) or a more chiselled Ken (as in Barbie’s boyfriend) but he can certainly move.

However, there is one thing that is slightly disconcerting and that’s the colour of his gnashers. I can only describe them as TOWIE white, sparkling against that spray-tanned skin like stars in the night sky, but quite definitely not natural in the slightest.

Not that I would slam the door in his face if he was to ring the bell holding a bunch of flowers.In fact he doesn’t need to bother with a bouquet.

These names are a bit of a stretch

Having done a bit of yoga I was intrigued to read about the British Wheel of Yoga – seriously, that’s the name of the governing body – is looking to create national standard for teachers of this bendy pastime.

I know from pushing my body into contortions that I hadn’t thought would be possible at my age that there must be many possibilities for things to go wrong. Muscles are strained and when my teacher suggests headstands I point blank refuse. For some reason I always imagine that I will end up with a broken neck, what with all that weight bearing down on my bonce. And true enough there are yoga teaching courses and yoga teaching courses – if you get my gist.

There are those who live and breathe the practice and others who go on a short course thinking that they can make a quick buck.

However, I am as shallow as a puddle in June so my main interest was how the two people interviewed for the feature had the most marvellous names. In one corner is Swami Ambikananda and on the regulation side is Claire McGillycuddy. Oh, I do hope that this runs and runs.

Laid low by the bottle yet again

AT the weekend I managed to crack a rib or two. “Were you swinging from a chandelier?” asked one wag, whilst another friend told me that she had suffered a similar fate falling off a table in a nightclub.

Unfortunately nothing as glamorous or exciting as that for me; I merely slipped in my stocking soles whilst walking downstairs to full up my hot water bottle. I think it may be time to invest in an electric blanket and maybe get a life.