It’s Day 28 of Blogtober and today’s prompt is “Halloween Traditions”. I’m going to share my Halloween traditions from when I was a child and the Halloween traditions we follow as a family today. :
My Halloween Traditions as a Child
When I was young, Halloween was only really mentioned on one night of the year, October 31st, Halloween. I mean I suppose my mum had to get our costumes ready before the actual day but apart from that, there was no real mention of it.
Dressing up for Halloween
When Halloween came it was very exciting. I love dressing up. The costumes were all homemade. You could buy accessories, such as Halloween masks and witches’ hats etc. I can remember dressing up as a witch, in a bin bag dress with a bin bag cape, as a black cat in a leotard with a tail made of old tights, and as a bat wearing black clothes and huge wings made out of painted black cardboard. I made this myself and felt very proud of it. The wings were so wide I had to walk through doors sideways. I think one year I wore a mask, I can’t remember what I dressed up as but I remember the smell of the plastic mask and finding it hard to breathe! I think this is why I still try to avoid masks!
Turnip and Swede Jack o Lanterns
When I was young, it was traditional to carve and carry a Turnip or Swede Jack o Lantern. I actually only remember doing this one year. I remember nagging my parents could we do it “as everyone else did”. Then on the night, I just felt annoyed trying to carry my Jack o Lantern around with me- oops! It was just one of those experiences where the thought of it was more exciting than actually doing it (sorry to my mum and late dad!).
Trick or Treating
I grew up on a lovely street, where my mum still lives. We were so lucky and there were a few kids of a similar age. We would all get dressed up and meet at one house. From there, we would knock on other houses on our street, Trick or Treating. Our neighbours knew to expect us (most of them were our parents, of course) and we only went to people we knew. When we knocked on the doors, we would all say “Trick or Treat” in unison and our neighbour would usually hand us a few coins. We did always have one generous neighbour who would give a note, which we would all be shocked by! Once, we’d been around all the houses we would go back to one house together. We took it in turns over the years, but my main memories are from when we went back to our next-door neighbour’s house. Back here, we would count up the money and divide it equally between us.
Of course, as we were going around, other groups of “Trick or Treaters” were too and seeing them was part of the fun too.
Then, at the house we all came back to, there would be a Halloween Party. We would play part games, such as, “Best Halloween Costume”, “Apple bobbin'”, “Wink Murder”, “Murder in the Dark”, “Musical statues” “Musical Bumps” and “The Knife and Fork Chocolate Game”. We’d dance to Halloween music. It was all such good fun.
As we got older, we got into some Halloween rituals, such as lighting a candle in front of a mirror to find our true love etc. In school, scary stories of “Bloody Mary” etc would be told more than ever.
One Halloween was over, we knew it was time to make a “Guy” for “Guy Fawkes Night” ready to celebrate Bonfire Night as a street too. During my childhood, Halloween was about my neighbourhood and community.
Our Halloween Traditions Today
I feel that nowadays as soon as we get into October, we start Halloween activities. As you know, from this blog, one of our modern traditions is to go pumpkin picking in Pembrokeshire. The kids have already done this and taken part in Halloween activities in school, at Guides and at Rangers. When they were younger we would also visit Folly Farm to take part in their special spooky activities and I would often get tickets for us to go to a family Halloween party at a local venue. Although I don’t decorate as much as other households, we do have seasonal decorations at this time and our pumpkins will be on display. We watch scary films, light Halloween candles and eat and drink pumpkin-flavoured foods.
Dressing up for Halloween
On Halloween night we all dress up, adults too. My kids have been in lots of different costumes over the years. Some have been homemade and many have been bought. We have a collection of costumes and accessories from over the years. As well as being a “traditional” witch, cat and vampire etc, I find that my kids are more influenced by the screen, both TV and Film when choosing their costumes each year.
The first time I carved a pumpkin was when the kids were young. The kids used to draw their designs on with a sharpie and then I would carve the design. Now the kids are old enough to carve or decorate their own pumpkins. Lit-up pumpkins are put on display next to our fireplace or outside our front door. They are too big to be carried.
Trick or Treating
The kids have never been traditionally door-to-door “Trick or Treating”. This is because when they were young, I wanted to bring them around to see our family and this has continued. So, on Halloween, we all get dressed up, then go see Great Gran, then Gran and Grampy and then Nanny (and Aunties). When the kids were young I always baked Halloween biscuits to give to our family instead of them saying “Trick or treat?” They give the treat! Our family always give the kids lots of sweets.
As we’re never home for Halloween, we always put a bucket outside our house, full of sweets and a sign telling “Trick or Treaters” to take some sweets.
When we get to Nanny’s house, it is all decorated and we have a little Halloween party with friends and cousins. We have some food, such as hot dogs or party food. We do activities, such as decorating biscuits. We play games as we used to when I was young and dance to Halloween music- think “Time Warp”, “The Monster Mash” and “Ghostbusters!” etc. We may watch Halloween movies and tell ghost stories.
Although the kids may go to Halloween parties at this time of year, for us, on Halloween night it is mainly about family.
Do you celebrate Halloween? What are your Halloween traditions?