Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween (London Style)

Yes. This is an actual sign we saw last night while hitting the mean London streets for some Treat or Treating.

As I've said before, Halloween is not a British holiday, it's an American one. It's getting bigger, to be sure, every year. Our first Halloween here in 1999, when Thing One was just one month old, I couldn't even find a pumpkin in our local market to carve.

Things have changed, but it still doesn't feel quite right. Earlier today, our friend knocked on the door and asked, "So how do you do this whole trick or treating thing?" I answered the question by saying we would all go together. You can see from above that not everyone has embraced the spirit of the holiday. (Thinking about it, though, it's also possible that there's some mean people in the U.S. who also had "No Trick or Treating" signs. Did anyone in the U.S. see something similar?)

We kicked off our festivities by going on a Ghost Walk at the Old Royal Naval College, followed by the fanciest hot dog dinner I've had, or will ever have, in the Painted Hall. We wandered the undercrofts, stood in the old prison and heard tales of ghostly wanderings. Once we had polished off the hot dogs and took our annual Halloween picture (see below) behind the door of the Painted Hall, we were off for our trick or treating adventure.
To see the rest of the annual Halloween pictures, from 2002 to 2007, go here.

Joining us for the trick or treating portion of the evening was our friend Dave, for his first trick or treating experience. He's in his 40s, so that sums up the history of British Halloween nicely.

In the past, I tended to direct the children to go to the houses of friends. But this year, in a bold move, we decided to go to a particular street and see how we did (though we did stop at friend's houses along the way). It was a perfect Halloween night-- cold and crisp. We kept bumping into other friends trying to secure some Halloween treats. One family-- they're Russian, but they certainly got into the spirit of things-- gave out "poo" which I hope was chocolate, though I haven't investigated further yet.

A big group of kids and adults finished the night back at the house playing the Wii Fit and admiring our pumpkins. All in all, it was a wonderful day: distinctly British with a dash of American thrown in.


Anonymous said...

No signs--actually, our neighbors who were not going to be home last night came by the day before to give our children their treats.


Kavita Varma-White said...

The best stop during our first Seattle Halloween was the house everyone kept referring to as the "Pop House".. that would be a house where, instead of candy, you get the beverage of your choice (Coke, Diet Coke, Root Beer, Gingerale, Orange, etc..) The kids loved it!