Halloween or Hallowe’en (a contraction of its original title “All Hallows’ Evening”) is also originally known as All Hallows’ Eve.
It is a yearly holiday observed around the world on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows. Most scholars believe that All Hallows’ Eve was originally influenced by western European harvest festivals and festivals of the dead with pagan roots, particularly the Celtic Samhain. It’s also when the dead come back for a bit and stuff – so I am told.
But Let’s talk pumpkins. Because in Scotland (Pagan Celtic central where Hallowe’en was big as Ben Hur and less tacky) we never EVER had pumpkins in the 1980s. Also – have you SEEN how much they cost these days? Jeez. No. We had turnips. Our Jack o’Lanterns were made of turnips. And because there were two of us kids, my father had to spend several hours in the garage with various tools, carving out two gruesome faces out of those hard unforgiving vegetables. No artistic pallette knife involved. Just a vice, a screwdriver, a hacksaw etc etc.
But finally, complete with their little lids and candles, our Jack O’Lanterns would be placed, lit, amazing at the front door. While my mother wrapped the house in black plastic, baked a ghost cake, hung treacle buns from the door frames and spiders webs from the ceiling and arranged the dookin for apples. Then Dad donned the most horrible scary mask and roared like a mentalist to my sister and I shut ourselves in the toilet for half an hour as we were dressed as ballerinas, shock wigged weirdos or something else Mum had dreamed up.
That’s fucking Hallowe’en people.