All Hallows’ Eve

I’m not a fan of the commercialised Halloween. When I was growing up it barely existed in the UK, although the Christian practice of remembering the dead, including saints (hallows) and martyrs, goes back centuries.  Trick and Treat and dressing up in scary costumes was an American ‘thing’. Instead we looked forward to Bonfire Night on 5 November. With accompanying ‘guy’, fireworks, bonfire toffee, Yorkshire Parkin, baked potatoes, mushy peas and toffee apples.  Weeks before were spent collecting firewood, making the guy and saving pennies to buy sparklers, crackerjacks and catherine wheels.

Remember, remember, the fifth of November.
Gun powder, treason and plot
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

But the fifth of November has been overtaken by  Halloween.  A vivid reminder of just how powerfully American culture and American consumerism can be transported across the Atlantic. Local shops create window displays suitable for the season. and now my own grandchildren look forward to dressing up as ghouls and ghosties and knocking on the neighbours doors for a treat.

Me? I just close the curtains and pretend I’m not in.

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

49 thoughts on “All Hallows’ Eve”

  1. Yes I agree. I liked it when my children were younger but now I am a bit more removed as well. It’s a holiday for then little ones I think!

    1. It’s fine for Americans to celebrate it in the way they do, though I suspect it has become overly commercialized there too, but why have we (UK) fallen for it?

      1. When commercialism rules on holidays I try to see it through the eyes of the wee ones otherwise I am completely turned off. 🌹

  2. Halloween has been a big deal even in my childhood so I guess count Canada in too. I had not realized it’s a North American start up Jude.

  3. Your post brings back memories of my childhood too! Heard someone on the local radio yesterday saying she was seriously stressed organising a Halloween party for her children. I wondered then at how it had got so big and commercialised in the UK over the past few years or so. I didn’t mind so much when the cute little ones from our neighbourhood came knocking at my door for the treats I had prepared, but last year there were some quite big ones who I didn’t know and were not cute at all – in fact quite scary! Tonight I am off to the cinema until its all over!

    1. I think when this was a community ‘party’ like our bonfire night, it was probably much nicer. But I don’t quite know why we ‘imported’ it. And yes, you’re right, some youngsters get a kick out of terrorising the neighbourhood. Not good.

  4. Spain’s gone mad with it, too. I guess it’s the same in Germany. In the South, when I was small, we had (still have!) our own dressed-up trick-or-treating event on the day that’s known in the UK as Pancake Tuesday. We called it “to go begging” (no threats of “tricks”), it was part of carnival, and a lot of fun. I sure do hope the custom won’t die out.

    1. Well that sounds a lot more fun, hopefully the dressing up doesn’t involve looking as though you have just been in a major accident! It’s when the ‘marketroids’ step on the band-wagon that things get out of control.

      1. No.. it was cowboys and Indians and princesses for us back then, and the odd witch, but,no doubt, today’s ensemble will have more than just a handful of zombies thrown in 😉

  5. I enjoyed Halloween when I was young but we lived in a small village and one made the rounds in no time at all. It seemed each mother checked out the costume everyone else’s mother came up with. Today, it’s all $$. I’ve not answered the door for years now.

      1. I used to shut off the lights and sit in the back room to watch television. Looks like no-ones home. It was fine when my daughter was young but the thrill is gone. 😀

    1. Agree. It is a shame that something which was a lot of simple fun has become so money oriented. A shame people don’t make a stand, but no-one wants to be different these days. 😦

  6. I agree. When I was young Halloween was nothing special (just my sister’s birthday) and Guy Fawke’s night was the really big thing. I suppose bonfires have become dangerous and fireworks too expensive and Halloween is a much bigger commercial opportunity! Thanks USA!

  7. Great fall festive photos.

    What hasn’t been co-opted by marketers and retailers? It’s hard to keep ‘anticipation and authenic’ in anything.

    We have simple family traditions for Halloween, and the kids live where there are lots of little ones so the night is more like a n’hood streetfest.

    1. Well that sounds much simpler and nicer. My point is that this is not a traditional UK celebration, but we seem to have been sucked into it – added to that is this thing of dressing like zombies and scary ghosts! Cute kiddie ghosts are OK, but these aren’t!

  8. I well remember the Guy Fawkes nights. I met my hubby at a November 5th Guy Fawke’s dance. I used to love helping to make the ‘Bonfire’ toffee, which you pulled and pulled, and the roasted chestnuts were so delicious, even though they usually burned my mouth a little. Sparklers were my favourite fireworks. 🙂

    1. That toffee also pulled out your fillings! Yes, bonfire night was always a local community thing until the H&S police stepped in and turned into another organised money-spinner.

  9. It may be that the paranoid administrators who regulated the fun out of fireworks were responsible for the decline of bonfire night. I am also out on Hallowe’en.

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