Saturday 31 October 1987

…Went to Eddie’s house for his birthday party.
We had some chips that I didn’t like, as well as hot dogs and baked beans, then some of his birthday cake for pudding.
We spent most of the time watching a video of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, after which people just sort of messed about until it was time to be picked up.
The whole thing lasted from 5.30pm to 9pm, though I didn’t leave because my
mum was chatting to Eddie’s mum until 9.50pm!…

I’m relieved to find that I did not engage in any kind of Halloween-based carry-on. I’ve never liked Halloween, in part because it involves going up to people and menacing them for money – something I experienced quite enough of over many years in the school playground – and in part because it assumes people enjoy being offered a choice between coercion or punishment.

I don’t really have any childhood memories of marking Halloween at all, aside from primary school time-wasting activities such as making a wizard’s hat. I’m trying to pinpoint the time when it became really big in the UK. I’d like to blame Michael Parkinson.

2 thoughts on “Saturday 31 October 1987

  1. Well, this was the day of that momentous Paul Daniels special, but it’s true Halloween never used to be a big deal, Bonfire Night was always the main celebration. The only Halloween things I remember growing up are apple bobbing in Cubs – and not enjoying it at all, not just because of the uinpleasantness but because we’d gone to Rhostyllen to join another pack in some kind of Cub exchange visit and I was getting too close to people I’d not been properly introduced to – and also the fantastic Blue Peter Halloween Special in 1989 which sent Points of View mad, but we loved it so much we even recorded the omnibus. And the best thing is it wasn’t even on Halloween, it was on the 26th.

  2. In glorious People’s Republic of South Yorkshire Halloween was celebrated with turnip Jack ‘o Lanterns and good socialist children would visit houses and sing Jack ‘o Lantern song to receive collectivist donations.

    Money with menaces tended to be confined to penny for the guy in the run up to Bonfire Night with the 4th November traditionally Mischief Night, focused on pure menacing. Tying dustbins to doors then knocking and running away, placing dog excrement on newspaper on doorsteps and then setting fire to the paper, knocking and running away to watch the hapless householder stamp on the fire to put it out and then realise what they’d trodden on was commonplace.

    Then I went to Liverpool Uni in 1993 it was Halloween in Hardy’s every Wednesday night. Or if you wanted a real scare the 051 club to watch Scousers openly sniffing Charlie off custom spoons on the dance floor.

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