Whilst it originated in the UK, celebrating Halloween has always been big business in the USA. In the UK we used to carve turnips into lanterns, but now the pumpkin has reached dominance on both sides of the Atlantic; and whilst some supermarket chains here report increased sales of decorations, it is the massive increase in the sale of pumpkins that really grabs the headlines. But while there may be increased sales and interest in Halloween, the UK does not come anywhere near the enthusiasm, dedication and displays of our American cousins.
There are some enthusiasts in America who almost turn their homes into mini movie sets in a bid to outdo last years’ decorations. These are the so-called “Home Haunters” who dedicate many months of the year putting together the ultimate Halloween display featuring monsters, inflatable pumpkins, mock graveyards and some even have ghosts drifting past the windows.
This year, according to figures released by the National Retail Federation, it is estimated that Americans will spend a staggering $5.6bn (£3.6bn) on Halloween. But with an amazing party atmosphere, the celebrations are shared by everyone, parents and grandparents dress up to go trick-or-treating with young children, while the older teens and twenty-somethings just dress up and party!
My own celebration, if I can call it that, will be limited to handing out sweets and money to the children who come knocking at my door calling “Trick-or-Treat” unless, like last year the weather is so bad they give it a miss.