Seeing as Halloween is almost upon us and lots of you will be out celebrating shortly, I’ve decided to share some photos, recipes, traditions, and celebrations that have been sent in from friends all around the world.
Halloween in its current format has become more popular in the UK having migrated from across the pond where it is massive. I spent one Halloween in California and loved looking at all the decorations all around Seal Beach and Naples. They really go to town over there. I’d thoroughly recommend taking a walk around the waterfront homes of Naples in Los Angeles at any time of year, but especially during the Halloween or Christmas Festivities. And if you’re in LA just before Halloween it’s well worth visiting Hollywood Forever Cemetery for the Dia de Los Muertos ceremony.
We always try to visit Pala and Viejas Casinos during our trips, not because we are big gamblers but because they have the best buffets in California and of course that means lots more seasonal cakes and cookies. (I will be publishing a blog on the best casino buffets in the near future.)
San Diego drummer Jared loves Halloween, it’s his favourite time of year. “I loved Halloween as a kid, still love it as a big kid! I’ve thrown mega Halloween parties at Enchanted Oaks, the family wedding property, which included: haunted houses and trails, lighting the pool on fire, live music of course, and endless custom scary stuff. Also had many great seasons performing a Halloween style show at a theme park haunt with a percussion group. As it nears All Hallows Eve there’s always a fun spooky vibe in the air. The season also reminds me of many fond memories with my grandpa.”
Halloween lends itself nicely to many music scenes particularly psychobilly which widely links to horror. In fact, you will be spoilt for choice of which gig to attend on the weekends towards the end of October. And not only in the UK. Steve from London pscyhobilly band, The Surfin Wombats told me: “The best Halloween party gig to play is at Midnite Monster Hop in New York . It takes place right near the Greenwich Village Halloween parade so the crowd is always in full costume! Crazy !”
Mel grew up in Canada from the ages of 11 to 21 where Halloween was huge. “We used to take a pillowcase trick or treating coz ya got so many goodies.” She then brought that tradition back to the UK for her own children. “Halloween at our place was a front garden with several pumpkins with candles, headstones, creepy sounds too, we would dress up to answer the door giving trick or treaters a scare… lots of fun”
It seems that people like to hijack this festival for their birthday celebrations too. Down in Sussex, Ali‘s son loves Halloween more than Christmas! He had a Halloween-themed birthday party a couple of years ago (luckily his birthday is mid-October) and was eagerly planning this year’s one in September. “We were in a shop which had all their Halloween stock out and the look on his face was brilliant – his eyes lit up and he started ruffling through the outfits. They didn’t have anything in his size but he got so excited. I did buy him a skull-shaped reusable glass as I know he’ll use it all year round!”
And not just children, Londoner Suzanne aka Mother Punk said “I love it anyway but my birthday is at the end of October so we always celebrate it along with Halloween. All my presents are Halloween orientated so you can imagine the things on show in my house all year round.”
Gwen shares the same love for a Halloween household and has experienced the festival in many parts of the world. “I used to live in Australia and it’s only recently they’ve started doing more for Halloween. I’ve been in the USA several times too and that’s been other end of the scale, amazing! Rural France didn’t really bother but Disneyland Paris was fantastic for Halloween.” Have a look at Gwen’s workspace for doing hair flowers, and the living room and landing. This is her all-year-round decor! Isn’t it stunning?
Angela from the Midlands shared her story. “Halloween has always been important in my family. My mum is Scottish and as kids, we always had a carved turnip in the window and we were taught that to get your treat you had to sing a song or recite a poem, you and to work for your sweets! I carried on the tradition when I left home and upped my game when the kids came along. We lived in a village where the everyone went out trick or treating, or so it seemed! We would dress the house trying to outdo the neighbours every year. My favourite being the “abandoned” land rover on the driveway complete with a zombie (the husband) jumping out on those after sweets. In recent years it’s taken on more meaning as a way of remembering my father who we lost at Halloween time. He liked a party and silliness, and what better excuse?”
Katherine and her family from the South West of England have hosted their own Halloween parties and enjoy dressing up. The whole family have been superheroes and tv characters, and Katherine has even trashed the wedding dress from her first wedding to make herself into a murdered bride with a cut throat and covered in blood! That’s certainly entering into the spirit of the horror side of things.
Aside from all the frivolities though she told me “we feel quite strongly about Halloween in our family; the real All Hallows’ Eve not just the modern day trick or treating version, so I make sure the kids know the meaning behind it and I’ve been known to defend my right to celebrate it!!”
Katherine elaborates: “I like to read about ancient beliefs and mythology and I especially like such traditions as Halloween and Dia de los Muertos. I like the belief that the veil thins between those that have passed and those that still remain, effectively bringing our energy closer to that of nature and beings passed, and that we should use such times to honour and remember those we’ve lost.
Halloween means more to me than the modern idea of sending kids out ‘to beg’ for sweets, as I have often heard it referred to. Trick or treating actually started with folk going from house to house asking for cakes and drinks in exchange for prayers for their dead. It was intended to appease the spirits that may return and walk among us as demons on that night. “
Fascinating. Thanks to everyone that’s contributed to this piece. Whatever your beliefs or chosen way to celebrate are, I hope you all have a wonderful night or indeed the whole of October for those of you who love to prolong your celebrations. Me, I’ve mellowed towards the day a little and will be handing out sweets to all the local kids. Trick or Treat? Then I will probably spend the weekend baking lots of pumpkin flavoured goodies.
Do check out my favourite pumpkin recipes:
Pumpkin Cake and Muffins (coming 23rd Oct)
Giant Pumpkin Cookies and Roasted Seeds (coming 25th Oct)
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