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Hallowe'en Veteran

15th Oct 2012

When I was a small witch, I used to love Hallowe’en. I looked forward to the dressing up, the toffee apples which my dad used to bring home for us, and the dooking. For those of you who now have a puzzled expression on your face, ‘dooking’ is when you put apples (and in our case, nuts) in a basin of water and you try and fish them out using nothing but your mouth and steely determination. If you were rubbish, you went for the nuts – hazelnuts were always the easiest, but the brave always went for the red macintosh apples. Granny smiths were just impossible!

This old Scottish tradition was not without its hazards. Even though it was likely you were biting into an apple that already had someone else’s teeth marks on it, and the basin water was most likely filled with dribbles of saliva, you forgot all this in the quest of your Hallowe’en prize. Then there was the ‘stealth dook’ when, as you were doing your best to get a brazil nut, your older brother pushed your head right under the water. I was a victim many times! But the hazard I feared most of all was when dad played too. False teeth bobbing up and down beside the apples was not a sight that we children enjoyed!

I haven’t dooked in years and I hold Mercat Tours solely responsible! Every year, since 1993, I have been lurking around the Mercat Cross and underground vaults, sometimes as a guide, sometimes as a grown witch and most recently as a strange disembodied scream. But this year, I have made up my mind, - I shall dook! So, if you decide to come along and see us at Hallowe’en this year and you see an odd looking woman, dressed as a witch, munching a bite-marked apple and carrying a bag of moist nuts, give me a wave!

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