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Well, I hope you all had a fright-filled Halloween and Samhain season this year. Halloween is a relatively new event in New Zealand cultural history and so the scares don’t come out en masse as they do in the USA. When I was a kid, my pals and I would make absurd effigies of ‘Guy Fawkes’ on November the 5th. We’d stuff an old pair of overalls with rags and rolled-up newspaper and then push it around in a heavy-steel wheelbarrow, chanting “Guy! Guy! Money for the Guy. If you don’t have any money, then a smile will do. If you don’t have a smile, then God bless you!” Depending on who it was we’d usually give them this spiel, but if we didn’t like them we’d throw in a few other choice lines to give the chant a bit more pep. People would give us apples and lollies (candy) and sometimes loose-change and we’d all huddle round as the sun was going down and count our loot. If we had enough, we’d race down to the corner store (we call it a ‘dairy’ over here) and buy a swag of ‘Double Happys’ – powerful red crackers that looked like mini dynamite sticks – and then stash them away for the days and weeks after Guy Fawkes when you couldn’t buy fireworks anymore. The night would usually end in a grand finale at the local school field where the parents and kids would gather around a large bonfire. Some of the kids, myself included, who had  ready access to their father’s old work overalls would throw the ‘Guy’ on the pyre while the adults let off the sky rockets and other various fireworks. Anyway, no-one does Guy Fawkes like they used to anymore. Most of the fun fireworks are all banned now and the ones available are overpriced and boring so Halloween is starting to take the reigns as a viable alternative for most of the young New Zealand kids nowadays. Anyway, the season has now passed and we are staring down the barrel at Christmas again. Is it just me, or do the years seems to go by more quickly as you get older?
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