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Thursday, 29 October 2009

Halloween - Yes. or No?

In recent years in the UK, Halloween has become big business, literally.

Although i remember "celebrating" Halloween as a child. What passes for Halloween in the UK these days, doesn't really bear much resemblance to the Halloween of my youth. But, then again, which of the traditional festivals & celebrations do?
As with most of these festivals that have their roots in ancient rituals & celebrations. What we see now is an amalgamation of different elements of several of these festivals. Christmas in another good example of this.

What bothers me the most about the Halloween of recent years, is the rise of the American influence on the way the UK "celebrates" it. Until a few years ago, very few British children would go around Trick Or Treating. Now it seems that they all do it & increasingly so every year.
I suspect that this is partly due to the spate of American Halloween horror movies & TV shows which are now shown in the UK. This has created interest in the way that the USA celebrates October 31st.

Now, i have absolutely no problem with the way that Halloween is celebrated in the USA. They seem to have turned it into an artform. I was lucky enough to be in rural Kentucky & suburban Chicago during the run up to their 2008 festivities & the house decorations were amazing. They really get into the spirit of it & it seems to be very well arranged & organised. For example, i saw whole houses decorated in huge cobwebs!

What i do increasingly object to though, is the creeping commercialisation of Halloween in the UK & the American influence in how we celebrate it. Whilst i fully realise that a lot of it is done for purely commercial reasons, i do object to seeing whole supermarket aisles devoted to costumes etc. Another thing i've noticed is the way that the emphasis in the UK seems to have shifted from the witches & broomsticks of my youth, to more of a "horror" theme.
Is that just me?

I guess that this is just me being slightly old fashioned & harking back to how things used to be done when i was a lot younger? But, things did seem to be so much simpler then. With more emphasis on fun & less on spending loads of money. There is also that feeling now of seemingly having to celebrate these festivals, or feeling left out. Especially for the children.
Personally, i don't think that's a good thing.

So, if you're going to celebrate Halloween this Saturday, have fun. But, don't be surprised if we don't all want to get into the spirit of All Hallows Eve.



  1. Interesting that Trick or Treating is still gaining in popularity there. I think it has gotten less popular here in the US, as with each few years parents get more paranoid about the dangers of having their kids roaming the streets ringing stranger's bells.

    When I was a kid, we'd be out on our own for hours into the night. For a lot of the kids now, the parents take them just to a couple of well-known neighbors, then to more organized Halloween parties.

    I'd love to see a return to the mass Trick or Treating of our past!

  2. Ken: I think parents over here are worried about the same thing.
    Trick or treating is a pretty new phenomenon in the UK & has developed some rather nasty "trick" problems on some occasions.
    Trick or treating apparently has it's origins in the UK, which is rather ironic.