The Rise of Halloween

20/10/2022 | 0 comments

​Halloween wasn’t really a “thing” when I was little. Growing up in the 70s in rural England, we didn’t really know much about trick or treating or pumpkin carving. I seem to remember my mother muttering “American nonsense” under her breath around the end of October and we concentrated whole-heartedly on Bonfire Night and stuffing an old pair of tights with newspaper to make a rather floppy and lumpy Guy Fawkes. But that all changed when a fabulous and theatrical American family moved into the house next door.
​Our lives brightened overnight. To start with, they had four children around the same ages as me and my sister. That, in itself, was joyful enough. Suddenly we had enough people to play a meaningful game of tag, stuck in the mud, sardines and charades. We could put on plays that no one would ever watch but meant we could dress up and wear lipstick and feather boas.  A large hole in the hedge began to appear as they would crawl through to our garden, and we would crawl back to theirs just as often.
​And then it was October and activity next door became feverish. I remember popping over on the hallowed day itself, the 31st, and standing in awe at the porch door. Black paper bats and mini cauldrons swung from the ceiling, four eerie pumpkins glowed through jagged and heinous teeth and witches’ hats sat askew broomsticks in each corner and, beyond all of that, there was our neighbour, the wonderful American mom, dressed herself as a witch and holding the most beautiful basket, lined with red velvet, home to about 30 little cones of sweets. I felt bad for her though… no one had ever knocked on our door and said “trick or treat” in all the eight years that I had been alive. Our lane was too long and dark and our village was too English. I had a sneaky feeling that by the end of the night, we would be ripping open those glorious cones and eating the sweets ourselves …..and I was right.
​Things are rather different now. It can safely be said that the UK has embraced Halloween with about 60{650a267a6dfc0c56292df9f4411de9160c0ac02671db1e1ee03f984da437e88e} of households now actively encouraging trick or treaters.  With children of my own, we have entered into the spirit with freaky costumes, spooky face painting and little sweet-collecting cauldrons. And there is always a pumpkin or two, carved and grinning at my doorstep on the 31st October. My old neighbours would be proud.
​Pumpkin sales have exploded in the UK over the last decade with a predicted spend for 2022 of nearly £29 million! Farm shops have joined in the fun, and many are now offering PYO pumpkins where families are encouraged to take their kids and choose the perfect pumpkin and take a family snapshot amongst the glorious orange fruits. And why not? Let’s see if we can boost sales again this year. We’re still behind our American friends with $804 million expected to be spent on pumpkins for Halloween across the pond. That’s a heck of a lot of pumpkin. Soup anyone?


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