London’s Burning

I got so excited when I spotted the first, albeit paltry, selection of children’s costumes at Marks and Spencer (department store) last month.

Then, my hopes quickly were dashed when one of Mike’s co-workers informed us that Halloween is more of a holiday for yobs (British shorthand for rowdy, drunken, and disorderly teenagers picking fights, vandalizing property, and generally being punks).

It’s just an excuse for more trick, rather then treat, and certainly not a night for going out after dark with a toddler…

“It is catching on though”, one British mum informed me. Every major store offers a smattering of Halloween candy, decorations, and such, but it’s still not as widely observed as it is in the States.

Sure enough, my expat friends confirmed more of the same. Although they live in a neighborhood full of young families, no one came around for “trick-or-treating” last year. NO ONE. Chances are our neighborhood is much the same.

I got the idea that most of their kid-friendly Halloween fun either revolve around the American Embassy or parties at school, neither of which we are personally associated with.

The closest thing we got invited to is a “Saints and Angels” party in honor of the Feast of All Saints the following day. The hostess said that she “doesn’t really care for all of the ghouls and witches”.

So, I reluctantly decided to pass on getting Avery a costume this year.

It was VERY DIFFICULT, especially since I bought him two costumes last year. TWO! Just because I couldn’t decide which was cuter…

The “angry” bee?

Or, the one that matched his best friend’s?

(Man, I can’t believe that was a year ago… Sniffle)

Okay, so the Brits don’t do Halloween (very well). They do, however, celebrate Guy Fawkes Day on Nov 5. Apparently, he tried to blow up Parliament a long, long time ago.

(My attention to detail and historical accuracy is astounding, huh?)

To celebrate this treasonous act, the Brits burn him in effigy on the streets, have drunken bonfires, and shoot fireworks. The very posh and very gourmet grocery store where I buy the overpriced milk that I usually forget to get at the regular-priced grocery store is selling 2-for-1 fireworks this week, because yes, they ARE street legal here…

… in London, the city famous for burning to the ground.

Judging from the ’round-the-clock “gun fire” in my ‘hood, they seem to be selling rather well. I swear, it’s like living in Compton. (Like I would know anything about that…)

Happy Halloween, y’all!



Filed under Family, Holidays and Merrymaking

3 responses to “London’s Burning

  1. Paul Hayes

    Technically it’s a celebration of the fact that the treasonous act was stopped, rather than that it almost happened! But generally speaking I think it’s more of a party to celebrate the hatred of Catholicism. My home county, Sussex, has always been very big on Guy Fawkes’ Night, and in the town of Lewes there they famously still burn the pope in effigy every year.

    Aside from that, however, it’s mostly harmless.

  2. I guess I now found a reason my 8 year old daughter would not want to move to England. Halloween is her favorite holiday. She talks about what costume she should be for next year starting the day after Halloween. She even asked for a costume party for her birthday this year.

  3. No Halloween? No dressing our children up in cute (read: embarrassing) costumes???? The only good side I could see is not having all that candy around to tempt me – that is the hardest part. I am weak!

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