Thursday, November 01, 2012


On the 31st October it is Halloween, also known as All Hallows Night. It has a religious connotation as remembering All Saints. If you look back far into the annals of time, it is likely that a Pagan festival may have been overlain by the religious one.

There is a ghoulish emphasis on the celebration.   It's the night when it is said ghosts and ghouls are around.  Shops have their windows dressed with witches flying on broomsticks, there are skeletons in cloaks with deathly masks, and pumpkins have their flesh scooped out and faces cut into them.  A candle is placed inside.  They can be found lighting doorsteps, or,  they may be on a windowsill, or, carried from house to house by tricksters and treaters who are dressed up in dark costumes with a variety of devilish or skeletal designs.  Trick and treat is the entertainment  on offer to whoever answers the knock at the door.  They may tell a themed joke, a little scary story, or, recite a ghostly poem.  if you're lucky, you may be entertained to a skeleton dancing: these are the tricks; in return, you treat, say, give a peanut or two,  or a sweet.

The children who were here on our street, who entertained us over the years, have all grown up, the majority have moved away.  I am not sure what the two little boys down the road do, if anything.  Their grandparents live next door, an aunty and her young family live about half a mile away.  Maybe they keep it in the family, like our young ones do.

Last night we had a knock at the door about 8pm.  There were two rather tall ghosts on the step.  I admit, I did not recognise them nor their voices, that is, till one said, "Ooh it's cold out here."  it was, and... "the others are coming up shortly."  I puzzled over who the second one was.  Then a little one arrived, mask in hand, no problem recognising him.  He was soon followed by two slightly taller ones, one introduced as  "This is my friend."  In they went, that made five kids. Another knock, revealed a really tall person, who, thankfully lifted his mask....not who I thought it was, but a parent all dressed up.  I dashed into the kitchen to add another two bags of treats to the three family ones I had prepared earlier, when the doorbell sounded again... it was certainly a busy night with ghouls and ghosties. You could have knocked me back with a feather, there were two 'witches' on the doorstep, one looking drop dead gorgeous!!! 
Dash back to the kitchen  while all the macabre people chatted amongst themselves. Thank heavens I had made pop-corn earlier, lightly flavoured with a dusting of vanilla sugar.  Add a biscuit to each treat pack, a mix of Halloween foil wrapped sweets, and an orange, and they were ready to give.  Not though, before the kids had all done their tricks.  The grown up ghoul and witches benignly looked on.

And just in case anyone else flew in on a broomstick, there were a few sweeties left and some biscuits, all in a small basket.


Anonymous said...

sounds like a lot of fun

Anonymous said...

It's not something that I've ever celebrated, but I enjoyed reading this post all about it. Flighty xx

ZACL said...

Hi Shimon,

You are right, it is fun when the youngsters uninhibitedly and happily entertain.

ZACL said...

Hello Mr F.

I had no connection with Halloween 'playtime' till I moved to Scotland. You soon learn!

Thanks for the comment.

:) xx

Snowbird said...

How lovely that you had ghosts and witches come a calling.

You did spoil them with the popcorn, it sounds really gorgeous! I feel like some now.xxxxx

ZACL said...

Hello PP,

When the popcorn appeared, I heard, "great...we've got popcorn" from a couple of the kids. I popped corn the first time, last year. they remembered. The difference was, this year, I dusted each bag with vanilla icing sugar (just a little).

As for your own desire for popcorn, heat up a pan and put a layer of corn in the bottom of it. Keep a close eye on the corn...careful though, it can pop all over the place!

keiko amano said...


I love all your Haloween photos. I don't know the religious story behind it, but I think people of all religions or no religion like Haloween. The first time I went to the U.S., I fell in love with it. I used to dress for it, but not anymore. But I still enjoy looking at others celebrating the day.

ZACL said...

You've just reminded me Keiko, I used to organise a sheet and a hat for 'sprog' to wear when I went walkabout with the child, and carefully selected who we visited. I wore a dark coat usually with a hood and carried a torch, my closest thing to dressing up for the occasion!

This year, I have been challenged to dress up for next year's visitations. I guess I shall have to think of something.

Even the countries I have visited that have a strong Christian ethos with their plethora of saints to be religiously remembered on All Saints eve and day,( All Hallows) there is a tradition of dressing up windows with lots of devilish imagery and producing food things, like cakes and biscuits with devilish iced designs on them.

mira said...


Here in Sweden there is Allhelgonadagen- All Saints Day which is the first Saturday in November. This year it was 3/11, but sometimes it is 1/11 which is closer to Halloween. Halloween is relatively new to Sweden introduced mainly for commercial reasons I think.

My own take on festivals is find your own way of celebrating or not celebrating as the case may be. Have fun , so long as it harms none ;)

ZACL said...

Hello Mira,

How are things with you? Good to hear from you.

Your spelling version of All saints looks to my eye like 'all hell...' It must be the devilishness in me. ;)

Halloween is a big thing in mainland Europe, especially the manner in which the patisseries and similar, dress up their shop windows. How it goes on from there, I do not know.

The main commercialisation I see here, are some big shops selling dressing up clothes, pumpkins and suitably foiled sweets. The bakeries tend to ice up cakes to suit.