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British & Irish Halloween Customs

Halloween Rhyming: Two weeks before Halloween and no later than two nights before masked children in Northern Ireland make up their faces in black or white, don old clothes, sheets or garbage bags, and witches’ hats and go around the neighborhood singing for treats. They are given small amounts of money, apples, and nuts. The standard rhyme is:

Halloween is coming and the geese are getting fat. 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 then God bless you, and your old man, too!

In Ireland and Scotland children go rhyming on Halloween night. They go from house to house collecting food in honor of the dead. The ancestors themselves are abroad on halloween and also ask for food. It is called guising or galoshin.The buachaillí tuí: guiser’s rhyme is: Help the Hallow E’en Party! Any apples or nuts? In Scotland, The Witchcraft Act of 1735 forbid pork and pastry combustibles on Halloween. The Act was repealed in the 1950s and sausage rolls are now very popular. (3, 4, 5, 9)

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