Halloween in the UK
Well, my work is done. You are welcome. Tee hee. Halloween is an established holiday (not an actual holiday) now in the UK and I’m thrilled to report that more people than ever are taking part in Halloween celebrations across the country!
Over 10 years ago, I introduced Halloween and Trick-or-Treating to a humble street in the Midlands. It took a few years for it to stick and become popular but eventually, it became a neighborhood tradition. Now, they still celebrate each year and we always salute the tradition with friends who still live there.
This year, on our humble street in Sussex, there were hoards of Trick-or-Treaters, mostly mini vampires, ghouls, ghosts, witches and pumpkins, and lots of scary haunted houses to amuse the adults and terrorise the little ones.
I held a small Halloween party for my youngest and a few of his friends, one of whom had never celebrated Halloween before. After he left, I received a thank you text from his mum letting me know how much fun he had and found the Trick-or-Treating part very exciting. It was his very first time going Trick-or-Treating so of course I invited him back again for next year’s Halloween celebration. It’s wonderful to be influencing British kids and introducing them to American traditions that I’ve instilled in my own children.
But what about the older kids? Here, Halloween is still very much for the little ones, whereas in the States, it’s for all ages and younger teens still go out trick-or-treating. That’s not really the case here I don’t think. Which, actually, is fine by me and suits me just fine. I do remember going Trick-or-Treating in my teens but as an adult, I was never in to the Halloween party thing so only really celebrated it as a fun thing for the kids. Also, teenagers and Halloween don’t always mix and I have memories of mail box bashing and other violent acts carried out on Halloween night. Hopefully that is not a tradition that will become popular here (be hard to bash a British style mail box anyways!).
There is still a lot of negativity surrounding Halloween and I know many people think that Trick-or-Treating is parents sending their kids out to beg. Here’s an article about the history of Halloween and why kids go Trick-or-Treating.
Another big difference that still persists between Halloween in the US and Halloween in the UK is that costumes are meant to be scary here, whereas in the States, costumes don’t necessarily need to be scary and are often themed.
We had a blast and can’t wait till next year! I’d still like to know what people think about Halloween here so please comment if you have an opinion on it or have heard an interesting viewpoint.
Meghan Peterson Fenn is the author of Bringing Up Brits, co-author of Inspiring Global Entrepreneurs, co-founder and Director of Design and Web at Shake It Up Creative. And, she is an award winning expat blogger and mother of three.