family · Humour · Parenting · Poem · Rhyme

Halloween – It Ain’t Like It Used To Be!

As October cusps into November,
We embrace quite a sinister theme,
And the world becomes peppered with pumpkins,
For this day that we call Halloween.

Not exactly a new fascination,
It’s been kind of a regular gig.
But I find myself sat here reflecting…

“Just when did it get quite so BIG!?”

Back in my day, we didn’t do pumpkins.
It just wasn’t so much of a thing?
We’d potentially butcher a turnip,
Which we’d dangle on bits of old string?

Trick or treating was mostly unheard of,
Or reserved for the kids on TV.
Asking strangers for sweets was “Just begging!”
Which was frowned upon, apparently?

Fancy dress was reserved for the disco,
Which they’d possibly throw at “Big School”.
By which age it was all about ego
And which one of us looked the most cool.

All our outfits were one of three options,
There was “Witch”, “Frankenstein” or “Mummy”.
And each costume was swiftly created,
With just one prop for each of the three.

Food-colouring doubled as face paint.
Which would stain with a murky green tinge,
And we’d spend the next week getting laughed at,
But we’d do it and not dare to whinge.

We would strut in our self-made witch outfits,
And would cackle out loud when we talked,
Wearing jeans and a taped up bin-liner,
Which would rustle and split as we walked.

There was no range of fabulous outfits,
And no loud things that flash for your head.
The shop just did not offer zombies,
Or a chainsaw to buy with your bread?

There were no pumpkin patches or picking,
And no “Injurebread” biscuits for me!
Just some green fizzy pop “If I’m lucky”.
With eggΒ “young chicken” and chips for my tea.

“Injurebread” – aka the biscuit cast of The Walking Dead.

Whereas now it’s a whole different ball game,
Dominating the calendar page.
It requires a new kind of commitment,
To join in with, regardless of age.

There are scarecrow trails, ghost hunts and dungeons,
All our windowsills host orange veg.
Friendly neighbours hold fierce competitions,
To see which spooky house has the edge.

Half-term is “The Week of the Pumpkin!”
Where they all must be picked, carved and drawn.
ALL THE PEOPLE must dress like “The Munsters”.
Even Gran and those recently born.


We must ONLY eat pumpkin-spiced morsels,
And all things that are shaped like a bat.
If it doesn’t resemble an eye-ball,
It’s not fit for consumption.
That’s that.

We all know Halloween is a legend,
But it has us all under it’s spell,
Every house, shop and street is enchanted,
Stately homes, farms and castles as well.

As we count down the days to The Big One,
When small night creatures merge on the street,
And descend on the front doors of many,
Where then knock and demand: “Trick or treat!

* * * * * * * *

By November the 1st it’s all over.
No more zombies or monsters to fear.
All our kids still vibrate full of sugar,
And behold enough sweets for a year.

But I still find myself sat reflecting,
As I marvel at what it’s become.

It requires a new kind of commitment.
… But it’s also spooktacular fun!

Image shows a drawing of a Jack O Lantern with a smiling face.


To every person that made their own “coffin” outfit aged 12 1/2, entirely out of white A4 paper and a stapler, and then had to try to line up two pencil holes with their eyes to see through as they shuffled along the street with their ankles trapped into the bottom end of the paper coffin. This one’s for you!

Happy Halloween!


88 thoughts on “Halloween – It Ain’t Like It Used To Be!

  1. I didn’t realize until this year that the giant Halloweens I am used to were not the norm in the UK. As I read blog posts, I realized you all are newer to this tradition. Welcome! Now prepare to eat more candy than you ever thought possible while frantically trying to figure out how to dispose of 6 million pumpkins before they rot πŸ˜‰

  2. Halloween is so different to when I was little. I can’t believe how packed the shops are with Halloween decorations, it seems crazy. And I hate the taste of pumpkin so I’m not a fan of all these themed recipes, yuck! Love carving them though. Fantastic poem, made me chuckle xx

  3. Spot on! When did it become this huge?! I tried to think back to when I was young and what we did and I just can’t remember doing much at all. I have another year I think before my two understand it all and want to take part, so one more year of drawing the curtains and turning the lights off before I’ll be out trawling the streets begging for candy lol πŸ™‚ xx #DreamTeam

  4. It has changed so much , we were never allowed to go trick or treating as kids! If I didn’t take small girl out tonight though she’d be mortified. I must admit Halloween has grown on me!! #DreamTeam

  5. That’s so true! Halloween has exploded this year and we’ve never seen so many supermarket adverts on telly! Even bigger than Easter!! It seems that everyone has jumped on the band wagon. We don’t mind it though and like dressing up x

  6. Just me, popping over from #DreamTeam. This made me smile! I remember wearing black bin bags and one of my mum’s tights which had been cut in half and stuffed with newspaper to make a black cat’s tail! Things ain’t what they used to be, eh?!! Thanks for hosting #DreamTeam as always! xxx

    1. Haha I must admit that all Halloween outfits for Miss Tot still involve a pair of black tights. I cut a hole in them for her head to go through and cut the feet off. They end up looking like a long sleeved crop top but they’re perfect for underneath witch costumes that always seem to be so low cut but don’t look right with a t shirt underneath. Works every time ? Although I fear she’ll write a poem about it when she’s older? ?? Hope you had a fab time xx

  7. Halloween has become such a thing, I remember no more than a few games at Brownies when I was young. Our own Halloween Fun Day here at Coombe Mill is now my biggest event of the year, it is a killer for me but the kids all adore it. #DreamTeam

    1. Oh I really wish we loved closer to come and join in your spooky fun! It really is a huge calendar event now. It must be exhausting to work in the industry! Hope it all went well and that you can put your feet up a bit now… before the Christmas rush commences! ? xx

  8. Every year, without fail I was a witch with a green face. Clearly my inspiration came from Grotbags, bless her soul! Great poem! Crazy how huge it’s got! #dreamteam

    1. Oh how I did love Grotbags! I showed my tots an Emu at a bird park at the weekend and it amazed me that they didn’t immediately know what it was. We knew from a very early age… and that they lived in a pink windmill. Apparently? ? x

  9. Dawn, I don’t do Halloween at all, but I am amazed at how it has gotten bigger and bigger every year in the US. It’s a gigantic commercial machine now, almost as huge as Christmas. Special Halloween shops (huge ones) will open up months ahead in vacant commercial space, then go away till the next year.

  10. Ah I’m not a Halloween fan. In fact I am the Halloween-equivalent of Scrooge! Haha. We never celebrated it as kids so it doesn’t hold any sentimental value for me and, as an adult, I just hate all the violence it promotes (chain saws being a perfect example!). I don’t understand why it’s such a big thing at all. #dreamteam

  11. So true Dawn, just like everything else, Halloween has also become far too commercialized… it’s almost as big a celebration as it is in the US. Halloween parties?! That was NEVER even a thing, and now you’re so not cool if you’re not at one!

  12. I love this! Back in the UK I was shocked at the amount of sweets the children could get! It is a lot of fun, but in our road (we didn’t partake) there was almost an unspoken competitiveness about the outdoor decor. Now, living in Sweden it’s a lot calmer. We have fun, dress up, carve pumpkins, make spooky treats, and face paint, but it’s a lot more low key, and I think I’m happier with that πŸ™‚

  13. It’s huge now! This year is the first year in nearly 10 that I’ve been in the Uk for the build up to Halloween and it is everywhere. I knew it was big but wow, it’s massive now. I always had a bin liner and green face paint haha. Back in Africa now and it’s not celebrated at all, my son doesn’t even know it’s halloween x x

  14. Love this post I have to confess to enjoying Halloween but it has gone a little crazy, some of the houses where are cleverly decorated in special themes. We just used to bob for apples #dreamteam

    1. Our whole estate just seems to go insane! We had dry ice and Halloween music playing and projections in people’s windows last night. One guy had turned his garage into a spooky grotto for the kids to go in for their treats. The kids loved it, but I think my string of pumpkin lanterns is about my limit! Hope you had fun x

  15. Super cute. I think the “olden” ways were so much more fun, simple and classic. Wish I could back to being a 90’s kid all over again. No smart phones, just pure fun. #dreamteam

  16. I grew up in America where Halloween is a BIG deal, so the celebrations seem pretty tame here by comparison. We didn’t even have any trick or treaters last night! To be fair, I live in a flat and the weather was awful, but nothing would have stopped me from getting candy when I was a kid! #dreamteam

    1. I used to live in a flat and I loved feeling cosy in the knowledge that I wouldn’t be pestered. Our estate literally crawled with cute and creepy little people last night. To the point where people stopped bothering to close their doors at the peak and just stood handing out goodies to the queuing candy seekers. I’d love to experience Halloween in America though. x

  17. I remember watching hocus pocus in the cinema praying to have a halloween like that… i also decided i’ll go to USA at halloween at some point which im yet to do… in my day halloween was a bin bag over the head and witches fingers shared with my sister! #dreamteam

  18. Wonderful words as always, Dawn! I find it so interesting… Everywhere you hear that this is an import of a holiday the UK or Portugal, where I’m from, doesn’t really celebrate but if you go back to the roots of it we all kind of do, just in different ways. In Portugal kids used to go around asking for cake or Bread for God to give to the dead on All Saints Day. A lot of cultures seem to celebrate death, renewal and harvests on these two days _ 31st and 1st _ so I suppose no matter what shape it assumes you can take heart in knowing that Halloween is not just another American import but an adaptation of an existing cultural tradition. Man does this read like an essay or what? πŸ™‚ #dreamteam

    1. I love this Joana. I find it fascinating to understand what other cultures do to celebrate events like this and I like the idea of marking and paying respect to a historical event. I just get a bit ‘meh’ with all the chainsaw wielding and skeletons but I’m all for a pumpkin hehe. Thanks lovely x

  19. Oooh we can’t get enough of Halloween in this house! All feeling a bit deflated this morning taking down the decorations – less BOO more boooooooooooo πŸ™ Halloween was always pretty big in Ireland where I grew up but it was bin liner costumes and plastic masks all the way, it’s definitely taken off over here in the past few years hasn’t it?

  20. I love the injurebread! I remember when I was younger halloween consisted of wearing a bin bag made into some sort of dress. I did go trick or treating and looking back I actually feel quite bad as it definitely wasn’t a thing like it is now. Halloween is my favourite time of year though, it makes my goth side v happy. #dreamteam

  21. I love Halloween. You’re right about it becoming such a big thing now. It’s almost on par with Christmas. But I actually thought last night was a lot more chilled than previous years. We didn’t have a single trick or treater. I opened the door to a delivery guy expecting him to be a teeny person asking for sweets. I couldn’t even get him to take any! #dreamteam

    1. I can imagine you trying to send him off with a handful of lolly pops ? That’s brill! We didn’t get many either to be honest but our estate goes all out for Halloween so we were out for the prime spooking hours. We left a tub on the doorstep which was empty when we returned so could have had hundreds… or more likely one that saved themselves an hour traipsing around by taking the lot haha x

  22. Halloween seems to have been like a toddler full of sugar this year!
    I read that in the states that some houses give out beer and shots to parents!!!
    Round us people only knocked if you had decorations up or outside, which is definitely very british!

    1. Haha we did the same. Our estate is insane and really gets into it so there are loads of spooky houses, meaning that we could leave the non-spooky looking dwellings in peace haha. Wow alcoholic treats for the parents? That sounds like a recipe for chaos! x

  23. It’s definitely become more commercial. We always had a Halloween party and my mum would create loads of themed party food but I don’t ever remember a pumpkin making an appearance. The costumes were always homemade and usually a vampire or witch. I remember kids knocking on our door trick or treating but I never went myself and it certainly wasn’t the norm it is today. I love it though and being craftily challenged I’m quite glad I can just grab a costume at the supermarket!

  24. *giggles. I’ve noticed it’s stepped up a few notches too! Did you dress as a coffin Dawn??? That would have been far too scary for me. I think I was always some kind of furry creature. Thanks for being a fab hostess over on the #dreamteam xxx

    1. I absolutely did dress as a “coffin” but by that I mean that I stapled loads of bits of white A4 paper together and wrote RIP on a square of foil which I stuck on the front. Then I dragged it over my head and shoved a pencil through to make eye holes. I had visions of painting it and making a hinged door on it so that people could open it and I would be dressed as a skeleton inside…. I did none of those things as I had the attention span of a carrot and got board after all the stapling. ? I did not with the fancy dress that year coincidentally!? Thank you for being such a fab host and having me along for the magic carpet ride that is #DreamTeam! ?? xxx

  25. It’s true things do change over time. I love the creativity that has gone into this poem. There are somethings I don’t recall whereas I’m sure I came across people dressed in bin liners. #DreamTeam

  26. Hahahaha, love this Dawn. And it’s literally taken me down a mental memory lane as everything you’ve described was 99% the same for me when I was young in Ireland. We did however have a bonfire which all the local young lads & girls chipped in to make. For me, that was the highlight. We did however trick or treat and it was with the black bin bag and one of my Mums belt. To collect the treats we were given a gammy white plastic bag you use to get in the supermarket!! Plastic face mask with the crappiest string which easily snapped to go on me face and off ya went! I remember been give a tomato one year and when I got home was thinking ‘WTF is this ha?’!!! Times have indeed changed.

    1. A tomato? ? Yup times have definitely changed haven’t they? There would be a riot if we dared to hand out anything that wasn’t 99% artificial food colouring and shaped like a bat nowadays! Although my friend ran out last year and ended up handing out yogurts which apparently was interesting? Here’s to Halloween dressed in a bin bag! Happy memories eh? Hehe. Thanks Ross. ☺

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.