I’ve never been much of a trick or treater. I don’t think Halloween was widely celebrated when I was growing up miles away from anywhere in deepest darkest Gloucestershire.
My parents always celebrated Bonfire Night with much enthusiasm, and I’ve been terrified of fireworks all my life. So I can’t think they repeatedly kept the tradition going for my benefit, but I seem to remember enjoying the Parkin though.
I think we might have celebrated Halloween at boarding school, although I have no memories of carving faces into pumpkins ingrained in my mind. The dormitories were housed in a building first erected in the 16th Century. So, as with most creepy old houses, well-crafted stories of ghouls and ghosties roaming around the corridors at night probably put us off celebrating Halloween, as it might have felt a bit too close to home.
All these years on, I’ve only just realised that Halloween originated from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people lit bonfires and wore costumes to ward off ghosts. These days people still dress up to go trick or treating and terrify the neighbours, especially the ones who have forgotten its Halloween and haven’t got any treats.
For me, Halloween 2019 has bought back memories of learning about Guy Fawkes during a history lesson in the Third Form. It has also conjured up an image of a cauldron boiling away somewhere in the bowels of the Houses of Parliament, where it’s been brewing trouble and trickery for much too long.