Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Hallowe’en mysteries and histories

I don’t remember pumpkin carving as a youngster ... our next ‘celebration’ was the Guy Fawkes, Firework and Bonfire night on 5th November ... the trick or treat, spidery devlish dressing up seems to have become popular in the last few decades – coming back over the pond from the States.

Carved pumpkin

But Hallowe‘en has a longer history than that and is thought to have originated from the pagan festival of Samhain, meaning ‘summer’s ending’ in Old Irish,  indicating the New Year: an important event in the Celtic calendar that would begin at the turn of dusk every October 31st.

Christian and Pagan lore co-existed side by side until both in the 21st centuries have their place – in the Christian Church, or as part of Pagan festivals. 

All Saints (All Hallows, Hallowmas)
Painting by Fra Angelico (1395 - 1455)
All Hallows’ Day, originally celebrated on May 13th, was better known as All Saints’ Day, a feast day celebrated to honour the saints and martyrs of Christian history, and those departed souls who had yet to reach Heaven.

Pope Gregory, in 835 AD, decided to move All Hallows’ Day to 1st November so it coincided with Samhain – making it easier to convert pagans to Christianity.

Pomona, by Nicolas Fouche
(c 1700)
All Souls’ Day follows on 2nd November, a day used to commemorate the faithful departed ... praying for their release from Purgatory into the acceptance of Heaven.

Celtic and pagan festivals would have had communities celebrating with harvest fare, bonfires, ancient customs – leaving some of the food outside to pacify the wandering souls ... dressing up as part of these rituals to scare off evil spirits while they checked for soul cakes.

Snap-Apple Night (1832)
by Daniel Maclise: depicts apple
bobbing and divination games at a
Halloween party in Blarney, Ireland
As influences moved between countries – it is thought that the origins of Hallowe’en perhaps also had links with the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds ... the festivals continued to evolve with the passage of time ...

Shakespeare mentions the practice of collecting soul cakes in his comedy “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” (1593) ... so the tradition occurred as far south as Italy.

In Britain these customs came under attack during the Reformation as Protestants berated Purgatory as a “popish” doctrine ... this, coupled with the rising popularity of Guy Fawkes Night from 1605 onward, led to Hallowe’en’s popularity waning in England and Wales.
In this Halloween greeting card
from 1904, divination is depicted:
a young woman looking into a
mirror in a darkened room hopes
to catch a sight of her future

Samhain and Hallowe’en were celebrated in Scotland and Ireland since at least the early Middle Ages (5th century onwards) – they were seen as important to the life cycle and rites of passage of communities and thus ensuring the festival’s survival in those countries.

North American almanacs of the late 18th and early 19th century give no indication that Hallowe’en was celebrated there.  The Puritans of New England, for example, maintained strong opposition to Hallowe’en and it was not until the mass Irish and Scottish immigration during the 19th century that Hallowe’en was brought to North America in earnest.

Subsequently it was gradually assimilated into mainstream society and by the early 1900s was being celebrated coast to coast by people of all social racial and religious backgrounds.

Traditional Cornish Jack o' Lantern
made from a turnip  (NB good for pasties!)
Nowadays one of the most practiced customs of Hallowe’en is the carving of a pumpkin, referred to as a Jack O’Lantern.   This tradition is believed to have originated from the old Irish legend of Stingy Jack, a miserable farmer who played a trick on the devil ...

.... as punishment for his actions Jack was forced to wander the earth in between heaven and hell, with his only light being a single candle placed inside a hollowed out turnip.

The spooky faces are believed to have been carved to scare off Jack – but it wasn’t until the tradition of carving the lanterns moved to America that pumpkins were used instead of turnips, as they are easier to carve.

Traditional pumpkin carving

Mischief Night (also known as Devil’s Night, Hell Night, Cabbage Night .. etc) is another night of trickery – either before Hallowe’en, or Bonfire Night ... 

... dating back to the 1700s when it was an evening of chaos – thought to have started in a time when laws were often suspended for several hours or days in Britain, leaving trickery to prevail.

Mischief ranged from throwing cabbages to swapping shopkeeper’s signs, customs that continue to this day in parts of the north of England.

Trick or Treating in Sweden
Typical festive Hallowe’en activities include trick-or-treating, attending costume parties, carving pumpkins into lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, visiting haunting attractions, playing pranks, telling scary stories and watching horror films.

History has shown us that Hallowe’en is not just a single night of mysteries, it is part of a series of ancient events and dates with strong English and Irish roots that have developed over time into the period of celebration we are so familiar with.

NaNoWriMo – good luck to all who are participating this year ... have fun.

Disaster “Sandy” ... anyone, family, and/or friends, who has been caught in the various events – flood, trees, sand, wind damage, snow, electricity failure etc etc ... my thoughts are with you – may the coming days bring relief ... and coming months and years enable your life to ease back to a degree of normality.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Robyn Campbell said...

The turnip carving is fantastic, Hil. Thanks for the lesson. I learn something every time I visit you. Hugs my friend! You're beautiful inside and out.

Janie Junebug said...

Very interesting information. My son's girlfriend is named Sandy. She's a bit stormy.


Luanne G. Smith said...

Wonderful background info on Halloween. Of course it's gone incredibly commercial in modern times, but there's still an inkling of those ancient roots in the holiday I think.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I discovered turnips were originally used from the radio today, but there's lots of new info. I love the idea of sending Halloween cards - I'm surprised Hallmark haven't got themselves into gear for that one!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Life and existence continue to be so mysterious. Fascinating information, Hilary. Thanks. The turnip is particular gorgeous.

Linda said...

Halloween does have some interesting roots. I did some research on this, but never got around to writing it up. Thanks for putting all these facts together for us. That turnip is something I had not seen before, and it does look like it would be difficult to carve.

Diane said...

I am not sure that I knew Halloween existed when I was a child! We certainly never celebrated it in Zimbabwee, or South Africa when I moved there later. Nothing going on around here either I might add.
Fascinating post though. Have good day. Diane

Deniz Bevan said...

I love reading your historical posts, Hilary! I'm especially interested in the Celtic festivals at the moment, since the times of certain events in my speculative fiction story are linked Beltane, Samhain and other dates.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Robyn - I loved that turnip photo - mighty hard to curve!

@ Janie - poor Sandy, she must be getting lots of ribald comments at the moment and no doubt she'll get stormier?!

@ Luanna - we seem to be remembering our folklore and historic roots .. but so many prefer the commercial aspects.

@ Annalisa - I didn't hear that on the radio - they're always very informative ..

.. this a divination card from Ireland - so actually as Hallmark is American - I too wonder why they've not followed up ... strange.

@ Joylene - spiritual life goes on around us .. and doesn't that turnip stand out - I love it.

@ Linda - it's very much an overview - as Deniz says below .. there's Beltane too - it's all quite complicated ..

The turnip would be very troublesome to carve - and practically impossible to carve out ..

@ Diane - you're like me .. Halloween didn't exist as such .. funny how times have changed - glad you enjoyed the post.. at least you're having a quiet evening though - as I am!

@ Deniz - I didn't put all the details in - I'd be writing for ages and getting myself in a complete muddle!! There's a lot to learn about pagan times - I'll be looking forward to reading your book in due course!

Cheers to you all - not too many tricks I hope .. but lots of treats ahead .. Hilary

jabblog said...

Strange to think it was a British festival originally. I remember a lady of my acquaintance claiming she had introduced it from Canada. I don't think we have yet embraced it fully - maybe that's just as well?

Elise Fallson said...

One of the things I love about Halloween is carving pumpkins with the kids, but I didn't know the legend of Jack and his turnip! I always learn something with I stop by, thank you for sharing, Hilary!

MorningAJ said...

Fascinating stuff Hilary. I've been celebrating Samhain tonight but I've incorporated a few new ideas too. Pumpkin soup, for example!

Old Kitty said...

Penny for the guy!! I miss that these days!

I love how the carving of the pumpkin has evolved into some amazing art!!

Happy Halloween - it really has an amazing history! Take care

Patsy said...

We carved pumpkins when I was a kid and sometimes had cakes etc decorated with scary(ish) designs. We never went trick or treating though.

A Lady's Life said...

Our Halloween nights also have some kids doing tricks but houses don;t usually like that so instead parents try to keep them indoors with a house party. But little ones go out.
For them it's extremely interesting and spooky.

Friko said...

I only knew All Saints and All Souls days but I believe Halloween is now rampant in Germany too.

It’s like so many festivals, taken over by commercial interests, with the original meanings, whether Pagan or Christian long lost.

Golden Eagle said...

So that's why they're called Jack O'Lanterns. I had no idea.

Interesting post!

Li said...

My husband was from the UK originally and was unused to the Trick Or Treating over here. I had no idea at the time that it was primarily a US custom!

D.G. Hudson said...

I've carved many a pumpkin and we've roasted the seeds, but now hubby is the carver. He's better at it.

Thanks for all the interesting information about the UK history of Halloween. I thought it originated in the old autumn/harvest festivals from earlier times.

Stay safe from roaming spirits!

Theresa Milstein said...

Such an interesting post. I studied Halloween for a manuscript a bunch of years ago, but you told me info I didn't know. I do remember learning about the turnip. Makes sense since pumpkins didn't come from America until the Columbian exchange.

Happy Halloween (and all the other names that go with it)!

Gail M Baugniet - Author said...

Thank you for sharing this information about the history of Hallowe'en. As a child living in the country, trick-or-treating an exciting event, costume and all!

This year is my first experience with NaNoWriMo and I am so excited to get started!

I add my prayers to those who experienced the disaster of "Sandy"

Sue said...

I've shared this already Hilary! This is an interesting and enjoyable history lesson, thankyou.

I promise this will be my last rant about Halloween! I wish the kids (and parents) here would carve turnips, pumpkins or anything biodegradable rather than buying plastic tat which helps no-one and ends up in landfill.


klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,

Such a comprehensive posting on Halloween or Hallowe'en. I was quite familiar with much of what you wrote, but you have added your usual articulate added dimension.

Of course, despite the history, the festival celebrated on October 31 is a much bigger event in North America. I used to have about 200 kids knocking on my door, trick or treating on Halloween. No, not all at once! Over here in England, I have never had any children knocking on my door. Oh well, that does leave all the treats for me! Okay, my son can have some of the treats!

Thanks, Hilary. Like you, our thoughts are with our friends on the east coast of North America during such difficult times.

All the best, Gary

Anonymous said...

Hi, Hilary! Interesting post. The carved turnip looks pretty cool.

Jo said...

I tend to associate Samhain with witches from the old days.

Like you, I don't remember Hallowe'en being celebrated when I was young. Didn't know much about it until we came here 37 years ago.

scarlett clay said...

Lots of interesting trivia here, I love learning more about the history of our traditions. Halloween has become such a big deal in the last 3-5 years here. It was a lesser holiday when I was young and now it's almost as big as Christmas. Thanks, Hilary!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Janice - it's one of those festivals with such a mixed history .. I think perhaps in the towns they've embraced it .. but I like the local custom, just the commercial arm I'm not keen on.

@ Elise - I can imagine carving the pumpkins with the kids would be fun, roasting the seeds etc and then adding in the candles .. we never did it certainly.

@ Morning AJ - I think I should have been celebrating Samhain - and the thought of pumpkin soup sounds wonderful - though it is coffee time!

@ Old Kitty - Penny for the guy - I'd forgotten about that .. we certainly made our guy ready for burning on the bonfire.

Pumpkin carving by the artists in us (not me!) does produce some wonderful creativity ..

@ Patsy - well your parents were enlightened .. we certainly didn't .. but then we were away at school. Making scary cakes must have been fun - licking out the bowls etc!!

@ A Lady's Life - that does sound a good idea to let the little ones go round the neighbourhood - let them have their fun ..

@ Friko - I remember All Saints Day - not sure about All Souls .. but certainly the festivals were in northern europe too - and we were very influenced by the Germans, and they by our customs -

As you say like so many festivals their original meaning is quickly forgotten by the commercial interests encroaching ..

@ GE - ah yes .. I didn't know that either .. and Irish history is very much a part of the British history ..

@ Li - well if I'd married an American I'd have been shocked to have been asked to carve up pumpkins! So can quite understand your hubby's surprise at trick or treating too!!!

@ DG - well you're right about its origination in the annals of pagan times .. cutting pumpkins to roast is difficult enough! Well I'm here - so those roaming spirits didn't get me!!

@ Theresa - well my post is short and subjective .. there's definitely a lot of ideas as to its origination. However you learnt about the turnip - that was a surprise to me .. especially as it was a Cornish one!!

@ Gail - yes living amongst a country community - I can see that'd be fun for the kids and a great gathering for the locals.

Good luck with Nano ... and those affected by "Sandy" will need our thoughts and care for many a year ...

@ Sue - I read your post and will be there to comment - we just live in such 'awful' "want" times - all so often unnecessary .. those pagan festivals when they used what was around them can show us much.

Your post about the huge tankers plying "trade" between Asia and east Australia very near the Barrier Reef exposed the horrors of plastic ...

If we'd all use biodegradable products, consider before we buy .. it's a small step ..

@ Gary - thanks v much I just added in things I didn't know.

200 kids - crumbs I'd have gone bonkers! Well I think you and your son deserve lots of treats - so enjoy them ...

The East Coast has really been battered ... and like you and many others I hope their lives will have some comfort in the days ahead.

@ Susanne - glad you enjoyed it .. the turnip is fun isn't it.

@ Jo - I'm afraid Samhain skipped me by too ..

When I came back from South Africa pumpkin carvers were available for sale in the cook shops - so it was about 20 years ago that Halloween's commercialisation was really hitting our streets ... probably made popular by the cookery authors and cookery tv shows ...

@ Scarlett - interesting to note that you've only relatively recently been aware of Halloween.

Retailers will take advantage of any excuse for extra commercial sales ... three huge 'festivals' in two months is quite taxing on people's budgets ...

Thanks everyone .. we all seem to have different remembrances - I'll now look at Halloween in a different light: pumpkin or Jack O' Lantern or other!! ... cheers Hilary

Lynn said...

I love this history of Halloween and learned some things I didn't know. That turnip jack o lantern looks positively spooky!

Suze said...

I didn't realize All Hallow's was originally in May. That's closer to Beltane as I believe it is now celebrated, right?

Tara Tyler said...

i didnt expect a history lesson today! that was great! fascinating journey halloween has had! i fel smarter knowing it! and of course us lazy americans made it easier w/pumpkins, thats what we do! think f ways to ake life easier...not always a good thing!

happy november!

Karen Lange said...

It is interesting to see where different holidays and traditions originate. Thank you for sharing this - I was familiar with some of it but learned a bunch too!

Have a good weekend,

Sara said...


Wow. I didn't know there was so much history about Halloween. I really enjoyed this post. I even went so far as to look up soul cakes. That is fascinating...and it would make a good scary story.

The information about pumpkin carving was also new for me. I'd never heard of Stingy Jack. Another great story and the Cornish Jack o' Lantern was truly scary. I would would to walk to house for my candy if I was a kid.

I was disappointed last night. I only had a few kids and I live in a good neighborhood. Also, the weather was perfect. I suppose caution is making people less likely to take their little ones around. That's kind of sad to me.

Have a good week, Hilary:~)

Sylvia Ney said...

Hope you enjoyed a fun Halloween - I'm candied out! ;-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lynn - I love the history I turn up .. and I agree the turnip is positively spooky .. he delights me!

@ Suze - Beltane (Beltaine) is the Gaelic festival on the first of May.

Beltane - is the start of summer festival - while Samhain (the more important festival) closes the year off ..

Beltane and Samhain have very strong Celtic and Gaelic links .. both have been revived through the Celtic Revival (cultural festivals in Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and their diasporas.

So, Suze, you're right with the May connection for Beltane ..

@ Tara - sorry .. it's my style! Delighted you enjoyed it. And pumpkins are considerably easier to carve aren't they ..

Well I'll leave our various cultural traits well alone! Cheers to you too ... have a great November.

@ Karen - I just love finding out more and then passing that info on ... delighted to get positive comments too ... gosh is it already the weekend - nearly I suppose so!!

@ Sara - I wanted to write a bit more about 'soul cakes' .. but then I was starting to muddle myself with it all - KISS came to mind ... so keeping it simple I did! Very scary stories could arise from soul cakes - let alone murder mysteries ..

I have to say I hadn't heard of the origin of Stingy Jack ... but with the Cornish turnip I just had to jot the story down.

We'd all walk house to house for candy wouldn't we .. sorry you didn't get many visitors last night - at least a few were out ..

Good to see you Sara ..

@ Sylvia - it was very quiet here .. with no candy! Well at least you got to celebrate ..

Cheers to you all and I do hope things are improving on the east coast - but sounds as though many will be struggling for a while. All the best Hilary

Patricia Stoltey said...

I love Jack O'Lanterns but Halloween always does me in, Hilary. I should never be exposed to that much chocolate in one day.

Lisa said...

Oh I loved your post, I learned so much. Can't believe I actually did not know anything about Halloween and did not even try to find out something about it. Thank you Hilary. And this is oceangirl, again. No Halloween in this part of the world.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I think the traditions behind Halloween are fascinating. It's also interesting to see how Halloween has changed since I was a kid. Then it was a kid's fun holiday where we went trick or treating in our neighborhoods and got a ton of candy. We never saw adults in costumes. Now it's more adults dressing up and acting crazy than kids trick or treating.

Nick Wilford said...

Great post! I can't remember anything about Halloween as a kid, just bonfire night. I think it's bigger now (and of course I'm in Scotland now, where as you say it's always been popular).

It's fascinating how far back folk festivals go and the things they pick up along the way. I can't see the government sanctioning Mischief Night now - might turn a bit more sinister than throwing cabbages!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Patricia - the pumpkin candles always look amazing .. thankfully we don't really do the festivities here - so I've avoided candies!

@ Lisa - thanks for coming by .. I can't comment on your blog so am unable to follow etc .. I guess when you visit America or here at this time of year at least you'll recognise Halloween ..

@ Karen - well it was non-existent when I was a kid .. but now - - - commercialisation has taken over! I imagine being with your friends and going house to house would have been huge fun - everyone looking out for each other. The students have taken over Halloween here .. and celebrities - not a community thing any more.

@ Nick - yes like me .. just bonfire night. It's interesting how the Celtic festivals have remained in Scotland, Ireland etc

Mischief Night was a new one on me - but felt I had to mention it .. and I totally agree that it'd be much more sinister than throwing cabbages - though trouble makers don't seem to need a Mischief Night to do their horrible deeds.

Thank you - so good to see the reaction to the post .. cheers Hilary

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Amazing how much it's changed over the years. And we don't even get trick-or-treaters anymore.

Inger said...

You are the best, Hillary! Coming from Europe and having lived in England and studied its history, I am familiar with most of how these traditions came about. And I can't help but think that wouldn't it be wonderful if people in the U.S. knew about the origins of Halloween.

What I didn't know though, was that trick or treating is going on in Sweden. It certainly didn't when I was a kid. Only on Maundy Thursday did we dress up as witches and go beg for candy. We do have All Saints Day in Sweden, I think we went to the cemetery to light a candle on a relatives grave.

Which brings me to the Day of the Dead traditions in Mexico. It's interesting how small our world really is. Great job here, you are terrific at this.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diane .. I think the adults and commercial aspects have taken over .. the community feel of the little ones trick or treating seems to have gone by the wayside. Sad really - it's a chance to get to know one's neighbours ..

@ Inger - I wondered if you'd spot the Swedish photo! Sadly I don't think people think about the origins of traditions .. they react to the retailers and media expose of the 'goodies' in the shops ..

So Maundy Thursday was a 'witches day' - interesting as it's such a religious time - the day before Good Friday.

I've never known the English going to a graveyard to light candles - but I'm sure it is done - as families have their own traditions.

I hadn't picked up about the Day of the Dead - the Mexican celebration taking place on November 1st and 2nd that ties in with the Catholic holidays of All Saints Day and All Souls' Day ..

Thanks Inger - great additions to add to this Halloween post .. interesting to have the Swedish take on the celebrations ..

Have happy weekends Diane and Inger and all readers .. cheers Hilary

Laura Eno said...

Once again, I am in awe of your incredible research skills, Hilary!
I've never seen a turnip carving before, nor did I realize All Hallows Day used to be celebrated in May...among many facts here that I was unaware of. :)

Bish Denham said...

Wow, what great post. Somethings I knew about, but others not. Like the origins of the Jack-o-lantern. I knew they used to be carved from turnips, but not why. I LOVE finding out stuff like this.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Hilary
You're back! I hope you are well and refreshed.

I read that the costumes and candy came about sometime between 1920 - 1940 to help retailers make money on Halloween. I guess it took hold.

When I was a child we visited some relatives in Minnesota where my mother was born. They talked about a prank they did as children, moving an entire out house in the middle of the night. I couldn't believe it. No out houses anymore that I know of. LOL

Sherry Ellis said...

Very interesting post about the history of Halloween! I enjoyed reading it.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

It always amazes me to learn how traditions evolve ... it's like the "telephone game" where what the first person said is completely different from what the 100th person hears ...Very interesting!

Juliet said...

What a comprehensive post this is about Halloween. So good to bring out the origins of this festival, which is so rich. Visiting graves at Halloween is another practice. I try and visit my parents' grave then (April 30 in the southern hemisphere) and make a point of remembering the dead. I light a candle and write down the names of those who have died over the past year.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Laura - I think it's you the readers that enjoy the eclectic way I post - about the subject, but quite often with a little more history or interesting twists added in .. so my research skills just lead me along different strands - but delighted you enjoy the postings!

@ Bish - many thanks .. as I said to Laura above .. I love the little extras that are out there .. and I hate to say it I'm teaching myself as I go along!

@ Nancy - I've been around .. trying to catch my tail: ever hopeful with that one.

I'm sure commercialisation added to the popularity of costumes and candy - but they stemmed from those early festivals ..

Gosh - moving an entire outhouse in the middle of the night: brilliant idea - and of course then you could do it - what fun and a great story .. I laughed at that and I bet after the initial shock it totally entertained the neighbourhood for years to come!!

@ Sherry - thank you.

@ Melissa - Chinese whispers always used to amuse me ... now I take them somewhat more seriously - as what was the original message?!

Life evolves so much, that we forget so often how much is always changing around us ...

@ Juliet - I knew you'd have some extra insight .. it's what we've grown up with isn't it. I rather like your approach to All Souls Day or Halloween .. and visit your parent's grave and the fact you make time to "just be" with your list of friends and family who have died previously ..

Thanks everyone - it's so interesting to hear everyone's remembrances of their Halloweens - as a child, or now with children .. I've enjoyed these extra points ...

Hope you're having lovely weekends - we are once again being soaked!! Not sure what they're going to do for the Bonfire Nights ... cheers Hilary

Unknown said...

I knew you'd have a great post up for Halloween, Hilary, and you didn't let me down. :)

I don't remember doing anything for Halloween as a child. We were too busy thinking about Bonfire night - gathering Dad's old clothes to make a guy and scrounging wood and assorted rubbish for the bonfire. This year though, because I had young children staying, we did actually carve pumpkin lanterns and have them shining brightly in the window. Great fun!

Heather Murphy said...

Halloween has always been my least favorite holiday but it's interesting how twisted each holiday becomes from its origin.
I wish we had Bonfire Night in the States. That sounds like fun!

Heather Murphy said...

Halloween has always been my least favorite holiday but it's interesting how twisted each holiday becomes from its origin.
I wish we had Bonfire Night in the States. That sounds like fun!

Empty Nest Insider said...

Hilary, Yet again you've taken something that we all were familiar with, and added a whole new dimension to the holiday! Lots of interesting facts here, and I also got a kick out of the carved turnip! Julie

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

A very thorough job, Hilary!

While many people celebrate Halloween here, we don't. We steer clear of anything belonging to occult practices.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Shirley - thank you! You're like me .. I suppose we made a guy - perhaps my brothers did .. but can certainly visualise your guy.

Must have been lovely carving pumpkins with the little ones - and then watching their faces when they were lit and shining brightly in the window.

@ Heather - you're right how things change over the years .. I love Bonfire nights - but it's become so commercial over here too .. a little bonfire at home was great fun.

@ Julie - delighted you enjoyed it and learnt some new stuff .. the carved pumpkin is pretty special isn't it.

@ Susan - many thanks .. I can understand your take on occult practices ...

Thanks to you all .. Bonfire Night today!! Cheers Hilary