Halloween in England
I have seen some fabulous blogs giving details of the history and myths surrounding Halloween, all of which have been fascinating.
I do want to dispel a few of the myths about Halloween in England though…having seen a few statements along the lines of “this practice is still carried out in parts of England today”…
Although there is a lot of folklore about All Hallows Eve originating from parts of the UK which is probably correct – I hate to disappoint people…Halloween as we know it with the fancy dress, carved pumpkins and trick or treating only really came to England big time about fifteen or so years ago (from my personal recollection anyway) although I can only count for the South East of England where I live.
As a child, a teenager and right into my twenties and thirties (I will be 48 this month) Halloween was mentioned in passing but that was it…no parties, no dressing up and definitely no trick or treating.
I don’t think I saw any trick or treaters out and about until about fifteen years ago, it started with a few and then people began to hold Halloween fancy dress parties and then of course the retail stores got hold of the idea and decorations hit the shops and the market has continued to grow year on year since then.
We live in a terraced house which is perfect for trick or treaters to call at although in a run of probably forty houses in our street there are only five or six that actually put out pumpkins and decorate their windows. You can drive down a lot of roads in the area and not even see so much as a pumpkin.
Most of the trick or treaters that we get are young school age children with their parents in tow and I doubt very much whether either the children or their parents know exactly what ‘trick or treat’ even means. It is just an event where the child gets to dress up and go around and collect sweets.
You can now find pumpkins to purchase in the supermarkets but actually in the store last week I heard the following conversation:
Small child jumping up and down excitedly beside the pile of fresh pumpkins: “Daddy can we get one to carve pleeeeeeeease?”
Father in reply: “No, we don’t buy real pumpkins…we have ceramic ones”.
Kind of sums up the feel about Halloween from the ‘general public’ – there isn’t any knowledge of the history or meaning behind any of it, which is sad really.
However…I have fresh pumpkins stored ready to carve, we have our decorations retrieved from the loft to put up and we will all dress up (children and us parents as well) and we have a bucket load of sweets on standby.
I am not sure that we do it for any particular reason other than the children like to go treat or treating, as I am the only pagan in my family I do my Samhain celebrations separately but it is fun and something we do as family so that’s a good enough reason for me.