Monday, November 03, 2014


I was pretty nervous about Halloween this year. Everyone here kept telling me that we would be disappointed, Halloween is nothing like in America, etc. I was also worried that the boys wouldn't be into it since we didn't talk much about costumes until a week before.

As you can see in the photo above, costumes were not an issue. And we were not disappointed. Here's what we learned about Halloween in the UK.

1. It's still a pretty new concept to dress up and trick-or-treat, so no, not everyone participates. But those who do really know how to do it. Most people (from babies to adults) who dressed up wore scary costumes. Lots of witches, vampires, werewolves, zombies, blood, etc. I only saw one Iron Man and one Batman the whole day. I almost felt bad for my boys since they were dressed up as knights and a dragon and not something scarier.

2. Halloween is a one-day event. There wasn't a lot of build-up to Halloween here. We saw a few shops decorated during the week before, but that's about it. There were a few advertisements for candy and decorations here and there, but not much at all. The pub we went to, The Lamb, was decorated incredibly well, and they did it that day. So while people did go all out, it was for the day only. I saw many people putting out decorations and pumpkins in the late afternoon.

3. No one went trick-or-treating until after it was dark. I think the first trick-or-treaters we saw were around 5:30 and sunset is at 4:30 now. Most people were out between 6:30 and 8 p.m. It was awesome! My boys loved the fact that they were out walking the streets after dark. And they loved looking up for the stars almost as much as getting the candy.

4. You could tell which houses were participating by a lit pumpkin on their walk or in their window. No pumpkin, don't knock. So half the fun of trick-or-treating was finding and admiring the jack-o-lanterns. We even saw a carved watermelon/pineapple creation. The woman of the house explained she couldn't find a pumpkin anywhere, so she improvised. It was pretty cool.

5. Everyone on the streets was having a really fun time. The kids were all excited about finding houses with candy and reporting to others. And they loved explaining their costumes. It was a real community feel. One kid who came to our door even remembered us from the pub! And there were lots of people out. We went through over 100 pieces of candy. We haven't given out that much candy in all seven of the years we lived in West Dundee combined.

As much fun as we have had on Halloweens past, and we've had lots of fun with family and friends, I think we all enjoyed this halloween the most. I think the lack of build-up, the excitement of being out in the dark and knocking on doors with spooky pumpkins, and the infectious fun of the people in the community made this a Halloween to remember.

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