Halloween falls at the end of October, 31st to be precise. The following day, the 1st November, being All Saints Day. October 31st then is the eve of All Saints Day and All Souls Day falls on the 2nd November. The Three-day period is known as Allhallowtide, which gives us a clue to where the name of Halloween originated.
There is a perception that some Halloween customs may come from Celtic and Gaelic traditions, some of which may have pagan origins.
Present day celebrations of Halloween appear to have travelled via the United States, arriving on these shores in the 1980’s and 90’s, prior to that there was little mention of Halloween. The religious aspects were observed of course but Halloween was a very quiet affair otherwise.
However, everyone loves a party, especially children. Offering an opportunity to dress up as ghouls and ghosties is great fun, parents, neighbours and grandparents all delight in being frightened by miniature demons brandishing tridents and face painted to look like the living dead. Many a white bed sheet will help turn five year olds into ghosts for the evening.
Trick or treat came ashore with the Halloween spectacular allowing children to hold ‘friendly’ folks to ransom with dire threats unless paid off with sweets or apples. There was a time when one could be less concerned about the safety of ‘unknown’ people giving sweets to children, parents may now be more circumspect about doing so. Tales of ‘spiked apples’ are quite common. It is wiser to go with the youngsters when they are prowling their neighbourhood and check out the ‘treats’ before they are consumed. Safety first. A safe trick is one thing but some tricks are not safe or appropriate so please be careful.
There will be a host of fancy dress parties and Halloween activities around Durham no doubt, certainly the shops will soon be full of dangling bats, witch’s hats, and pumpkins galore. By the way, don’t throw away the scrapings from inside your pumpkin, when cooked and seasoned and made into soup it makes a very tasty broth that is served hot and is yummy on a cold night, and avoids waste too. Also, the empty pumpkin skin can be filled with fat and bird seed and hung out for the autumn birds, so that they can enjoy Halloween too.
Halloween for adults is an opportunity for having fun, there will be special activities to enjoy, parties, dining out – our many fine local restaurants and pubs in the City will be delighted to see you but do book in advance if you plan to eat out.
Why not throw a BBQ party with a Halloween theme and fancy dress and have a collecting tin for a local charity? There are a number of charities in Durham in need of extra cash, St Cuthbert’s Hospice for one.
Halloween can be a fun time, and why not? People who work hard are perfectly entitled to relax and have fun. Guess what? The Weekend after is Bon Fire Night, and that means more parties and more fun. What a sparkling time of year.