In Norway the whole tradition of Halloween is fairly new and not very well established. So Halloween in London a year ago was our first! The girls had a fantastic evening and both were eager to repeat the spooky celebration.
This year Halloween was celebrated Wednesday 31st of October and we were invited to a friends house for a Halloween costume party. There was fun games like “Apple Bobbing” and “Guess the Witches body part”, followed by some party food “Bloody hot-dogs” and “Juicy eye balls” before we headed out in the dark to go trick-or-treating together.
The rules of Halloween, as I’ve understood them, are very simple. The houses included in the spooky fun are the ones with a jack-o’-lantern outside, a carved pumpkin with a light in it. If there’s no light you need to move on. You ring the doorbell on the houses that participate and then you say “Trick or Treat”. Some people have not only turned their houses into a scary dungeon but dressed up and they will try to scare you too! And some are just lovely neighbours that participate because they think it’s lovely to have the children from the neighbourhood coming knocking on the door. The costumes are also quite entertaining, so in the setting of the Dickens’s Victorian London it becomes a magic and fun evening for the whole family.
When there’s no more sweets, the light in the jack-o’-lantern will be blown out. Some houses also leave a note on the door saying “Sorry, no more candy!” But there’s plenty of sweets! To the parents joy some are offering fruit as well as sweets.
The girls came home with rather heavy bags this Halloween. And whilst they were already busy planning the coming costumes I’m happy that it is a whole year until next time!
Up until recently I thought Halloween was an American tradition, recently imported to Europe. Historian Nicholas Rogers has explored the origins of Halloween, and he conclude it’s linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain”, which comes from the Old Irish for “summer’s end”. And did you know there used to be a turnip, not a pumpkin.
Halloween is believed to be a magic night, where the dead would return for a feast. The word Halloween was first used in the 16th century and represents a Scottish variant of the fuller All Hallows’ Even (‘evening’), the night before All Hallows’ Day.