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Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Halloween Memories: Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday gives an opportunity for genealogy bloggers  to share their family history and memories through photographs.  This week's theme is Halloween.

Halloween was almost a non-event in both my childhood and my daughter’s, as traditions took a long time to reach Britain from across the Atlantic.   

I can remember, though, a popular children's game we played at Guides in autumn  -  "Apple Dookin"  where we had our hands tied behind our back with a scarf,  and had to kneel at a tub of water to try and grab an apple with our mouths without getting wet.  Another version (still with our hands tied)  was to hang apples on a piece of string and again try to get a bite out of them as they swung too and fro.   
Turnips were used to  to create lanterns,   as pumpkins were a rarity here. 

Halloween, Pumpkin, Orange, October 
  Image courtesy of Pixabay

Witches were always a popular theme  at fancy dress parties throughout the year and my daughter  (and now granddaughter) enjoyed reading the "Worst Witch " books.   As for chants - it was  

Double, double toil and trouble;
     Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
(As proclaimed by the witches  in  Shakespeare's "Macbeth").

Halloween, Helloween, Witch'S House
Image courtesy of Pixabay

Shops here eventually discovered the commercial opportunity from Halloween  and have been  full of orange and black wares, since September.   Where I live, houses with young children have luminous skeletons and witch decorations  in their windows and an occasional pumpkin appears at front doors.   The primary school marks the event with a school disco - in fancy dress of course!

"Trick and Treat" has never caught on much in my experience, with reservations about youngsters knocking on the doors of people they don't know.  In the five years we ave lived in our present home, last night was the first time we have had visitors - two very polite little groups (with mothers in the background), who regaled me  with jokes e.g.  What does the Chinese skeleton order in a restaurant?   Answer:  Spare ribs!! 

What I do love about this time of year are "Pumpkins"! My daughter even gave me a pumpkin candle for my birthday in September.  They are such  lovely,  cheery symbols and I could not stop photographing them when I was in the USA

We just had to pull into this huge display, so I could take this photograph! 
 A pumpkin dominating this display at Boston market


Click HERE to find  memories  from other Sepia Saturday bloggers.



  1. Halloween is a new thing here too. We loved the decorations we saw in Boston too.

  2. Neat pix of the pumpkins. They are colorful and make good pies and scary jack-o-lanterns. :) I find it ironic that Halloween actually stems from a Celtic background hundreds of years ago, yet the modern form of it has only more recently made its way back to the British Isles from the U.S. Rather interesting.

  3. Very interesting that you didn't celebrate Halloween as a child, considering that as Gail says it originated there, although not in its current form. It was certainly celebrated in NZ by Scottish emigrants back in the early 1900s, but I don't know whether or not they still. Scots brought their traditions with them when they emigrated to NZ, especially the South Island, including my Cruickshank, Forbes and Young ancestors.

  4. Glad I'm not the only one pulling off the road to capture Halloween photos.

  5. Halloween was a big deal in my childhood neighborhood, where we had 52 Baby Boom kids in just one block! Where I currently live, the sidewalks get so crowded with trick-or-treaters that our local Council member closed the street this year. Such a fund holiday, as you have captured here.

  6. Here we call that apple game "Bobbing for Apples," but I don't recall that we ever tied our hands behind our backs. Usually our hands helped steady us. I've never heard of telling jokes at the door, but that's a cute idea - I like it!

  7. I was sorry when kids stopped accepting home-made goodies when trick-or-treating...and the whole holiday moved over to Madison avenue. Fortunately I now live in a small town where a couple of streets are closed off for all the kids to roam in their cute outfits, just as the Saturday before-hand the dogs have a little costume parade.

  8. Not unlike Christmas Tree plantations, pumpkin wranglers have a hard time when the value of their crop goes from $$$ to Zero on November 1st. They become a trick not a treat then. We got off easy with only 15-20 children begging at the door this year.

  9. Thank you all for your comments and reminiscences. I cannot believe that the “trick or treat” is such a large scale activity in the USA with even streets being closed. Last night .we had Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Night, when we mark when Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament and kill the king, c. 1607, so there were plenty of fireworks being let off. Children used to concoct a large doll like figure of a guy to throw on a bonfire, but you don’t see much now of them going around beforehand with the guy in an old pram or wheelbarrow shouting “Penny for the guy”.


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