Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween

How I discovered it: My birthday is very close to Halloween and my birthday parties were always Halloween parties, with all of us in costume, surrounded by Halloween-themed decorations and cake - so for as long as I can remember, it’s been a part of my life.

What they say: “The evening of October 31; the eve of All Saints' Day; All Hallows Eve: observed especially by children in costumes who solicit treats, often by threatening minor pranks."

What I say: Halloween has always been my favourite holiday, knocking Christmas into a cocked (Santa’s) hat. I love it all – the planning, the pumpkins, the costumes, the candy, the scary stories...

Britain finally seems to be getting into the spirit of things now, but when I first moved here they didn’t celebrate it in quite the same way. I remember my husband taking a child of our acquaintance trick or treating in Marylebone a few years ago – 8-year-old Christopher was desperate to have the American Halloween experience. We cobbled together a costume for him with what we had at hand (I’m ashamed to say we sent him out as a pimp, dressed in my husband’s old bomber jacket, a dozen of my gold necklaces, and a pair of shades), and off they went.
They returned 20 minutes later with Christopher’s haul: a banana, 50p and a hard-boiled egg.

Not quite the same as the American Halloweens of my youth, when we’d come back with pillowcases full of chocolate and all kinds of candy, popcorn balls, Crackerjack and toffee apples. (I never actually saw him do it, but Dr. Ziegler, the neighbourhood dentist, must’ve rubbed his hands in glee.)

I also loved the religious element - the fact that it was a ‘hallowed’ evening. I know that these days some Christians think Halloween is wrong – but at my Catholic school, we celebrated it freely, and the next day we were at Mass, celebrating All Saints’ Day. Full of sugar...

What could be improved: I know it’s wrong, wrong, wrong, but I wish adults – oh all right, me! – could still go trick or treating. 

The verdict: Lorelei loves it!