THE UK and Ireland should be grateful to the US and capitalism for reinvigorating the holiday of Halloween, says Spooky Isles editor DAVID SAUNDERSON…
Coming from Australia, I don’t really have any childhood memories of Halloween.
Sure there were Disney Halloween specials of Ichabod Crane and Sleepy Hollow and some wonderful Jack O’Lanterns-filled specials on TV, but we never really had trick or treating. Halloween was always a very American thing – a bit like Thanksgiving and the 4th of July.
It was never a really surprise to me, however, that Britain celebrated Halloween when I arrived here in 2011. My mum is from Scotland and she told me that as a toddler that before immigrating to Australia, she would be dressed up in her mother’s clothes on Halloween and visit neighbours to get treats. That having happened in the 1940s means that it’s unlikely the culture had been influenced by the US as it is now.
What has surprised me though is finding out that Halloween in London is only a recent event. My fiancé tells me as a girl growing up in North London the only mention of Halloween might be in art class carving a pumpkin. It certainly doesn’t have the significance it does now.
Halloween is everywhere you look now but that wasn’t always the case. I’ve found a few articles about the death of Halloween in the UK, such as this one: Halloween laments the decline of Halloween in the 1930s.
I believe it is the likes of US companies of ASDA that have brought Halloween into our shops, so while we complain about the commercialism of the likes of Christmas and Easter, we could be glad Halloween is being driven by the almighty dollar (or pound in our case).
That’s because Halloween is ace. Every day is Halloween for the Spooky Isles but I reckon it is so much fun seeing the skeletons, witches, pumpkins and monsters in the supermarkets at this time of the year. I always think I need to buy up the stuff to get me through to next October.
I wonder if you have any memories of Halloween in the UK or Ireland as a child. I imagine everyone’s experience is different so it would be interesting to hear how people around the country – from county to county – celebrated Halloween, or the traditional Celtic festival of Samhaim.
Please tell us in the comments section below how you celebrated Halloween as a child in the UK or Ireland.
In the meantime, enjoy this Halloween of Ichabod Crane and the tale of Sleepy Hollow from Disney!

David Saunderson
Leave a replyComments (1)
  1. Richard Phillips-Jones 24 October 2017 at 6:33 pm

    When I was a kid, we always ended up carving a swede rather than a pumpkin. I always figured this was because pumpkins were less ubiquitous in England at the time, but I later came to realise that the swede was more traditional, used as a Celtic means of warding off evil spirits!
    Other than that, Halloween involved a trip to the video shop to choose a horror double bill, then off round a friend’s place where some of us would gather to eat junk food and swig some illicit cider whilst watching. Ah, happy days…


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