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How do Brits celebrate Halloween?

Question asked by Armand from France

How do Brits celebrate Halloween?


My earliest memory of Halloween is sitting in our back garden with my parents, hacking away at a giant pumpkin with a knife. At Halloween time Brits turn pumpkins into spooky Halloween lamps by carving eyes, a nose and a mouth into the biggest vegetable they can find. If you venture out on the evening of October 31, you’ll see lots of pumpkin heads casting eerie candlelight into streets and gardens.

Halloween was known originally as All Hallows Eve, the night before the Western Christian feast of All Hallows. Nowadays, Most Brits see it as a good excuse for a party: a night for telling ghost stories, watching horror movies and answering the door to trick-or-treaters rather than a religious festival. Trick-or-treating has become popular in the UK, but it’s really an American import. Scotland has its own brand of trick-or-treating called Guising and history records that English children and poor people once said prayers for the dead in return for cake, a practice known as souling.

If you get invited to a Halloween party you might want to dress up as a witch, ghost, goblin or skeleton. There might be a bonfire and/or a barbeque and you might be asked to have a go at apple bobbing. This is an old game in which people try to pick up apples floating in a big bucket using their teeth. Yep, it’s a bit weird, but fun too.

If you want to celebrate with your housemates why not watch a scary movie? We suggest the original Halloween movie made in 1978 by American director John Carpenter. Watching psychotic killer Michael Myers stalking the streets of small town America is still pretty creepy.

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