With our orange and black branding, we could hardly let the Spooktastic season of Halloween pass by unmentioned, could we?
You may imagine that Halloween is one of many imports from the USA. But this creepy season has its roots in Samhain, the ancient Celtic festival for the dead. This festival marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the long winter months, when (cue the spooky music…) it was believed that the division between this world and the ‘otherworld’ was at its thinnest, thus allowing the spirits of the dead to pass through.
The spirits of ancestors were honoured and invited home, with ‘treats’ being left by front doors. People would wear masks and elaborate disguises to appease harmful spirits and avoid bad luck. Bonfires were lit and food was prepared for the living and the dead, then ritually shared with those less fortunate.
In due course, the Christian calendar adopted the tradition of honouring the dead with All Saints (All Hallows) on 1st November.
When the Irish began emigrating to America, they exported their Halloween traditions with them, though at the time it was turnips that would be carved, not pumpkins, which became the American tradition.
Halloween may be a frightful season, but not for retailers. It’s estimated that upwards of £310 million was spent last year on Halloween in the UK, with around 40% of Brits spending anything up to £85 or even more on toys and costumes, creepy makeovers, entertainment, decorations and sweet and sticky treats to share around. Thrillingly for the retail industry, spending on Halloween continues to rise, year on year, with Halloween related pet accessories and coloured contact lenses recently emerging as key trends.
If you’re celebrating this scary season, stay safe, play nicely… and don’t let your own cheeky little ghosts, ghouls and goblins eat too many treats!