Ghost of Halloween Past: 1993

In July, 1993, we moved from North London to Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Even though only age four, I was not best pleased.

But in the October, a wonderful thing happened: I discovered Halloween.

In Britain at the time, as far as I was aware, Halloween did not exist. But in the States, oh my. Halloween was every child’s dream.

1993 was the year Disney’s Aladdin was released. So naturally, myself and every other girl in my class wanted to dress up as Jasmine for the class party. I remember this costume so vividly, how excited I was, how amazing I thought I looked, how much the waistband itched; I think I would have lived in this costume if I’d been allowed.

We were also invited to our first family Halloween party. My parents were told that Halloween was even a big deal for the adults and if they didn’t dress up, they’d be frowned upon. So they too dutifully obliged…

Dad thrilled as the prospect of dressing up as you can see, while Mama – her drama background shining through in style! And me, tickling myself with her tail… as you do…

And then finally I was introduced to Trick-or-Treating.

Oh. Em. Gee.

I still have that same pumpkin basket. It must be classed as vintage now, no?

It was a bitterly cold Halloween and my Jasmine costume was filthy after two parties and a Coke spillage. So mom had the brilliant idea of me bundling up and wearing my infamous ‘ducky mac’ and wellies for Trick-or-Treating. Practical, warm and everyone thought I was cute as a button.
We went Treating with some friends, as you do, and to start with I didn’t really know what was going on. I just followed orders to go and ring the bell and hold out my pumpkin for a treat. (Which in hindsight, not the best advice to give small children!) I flew back down the path to where our parents were waiting, grinning from ear to ear, crying, “they gave me sweets!! Look! They just gave me sweets!”

And so it went on. At every house. They just kept giving me sweets!

“they gave me sweets!! Look! They just gave me sweets!”

As you can see, I was rather taken with the whole affair, and slightly buzzed from the sugar.

Looking back at the family photo album from our first year in the States, it’s no wonder I fell in love with Halloween. In my mom’s words, “It was just one party after another!”

And so, to this day, I continue to love Halloween – almost, almost as much as Christmas. When we moved back to the UK (age 11) and Halloween was a sad, sorry shadow of the holiday I grew up with, I continued to insist to carve pumpkins and host a Halloween parties. For me, it’s a tradition and one I hold very close to my heart. And I can already envision the Halloween parties we’ll host in years to come when Little Miss is old enough to understand…

Dressed in my Bridesmaid’s dress from two years before (because I grew that little as a child!) ready for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Halloween family performance.

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5 thoughts on “Ghost of Halloween Past: 1993

  1. J wilson says:

    Halloween very much happened in Scotland – we used to make our costumes 40 years ago when I remember – the fun was making the costumes – we did a pantomime horse, a washing machine, an uncivil servant, witch, Smash Man alien, dalek, etc etc !

    My Great uncle clearly remembers it 80 years ago and my gran went back further. We have always had Halloween – as it is a Scottish and Irish custom and perhaps it was in Cornwall too as that was an area which the Celts retreated to ?

    We used to go round the houses Guising – we had a joke or a poem to say and would get some sweets or some coins if we managed to say our joke etc.

    So I really wish the media would get their heads round this as I am tired of hearing that its an American thing – it was exported from here with all the Scottish and Irish immigrants… it is based on Celtic religion I believe but there are religious overtones to it here, and we also go to church for All Saints and some go for All Souls too.,

    Thanks for your blog post though …. I am just in vain tryihg to fix the London media so its not your fault but every year they misquote about halloween …. we might as well retain our own history !

    And our local school halloween discos were wild too here !

    • amiecaitlin says:

      That’s really interesting, I had no idea! Thank you for sharing. My grandmother is Irish but has never mentioned it at all – but then she’s a bit of a Grinch about Christmas so perhaps she didn’t like Halloween either…

      • merseyprincess says:

        My sister and I enjoyed Halloween growing up in Liverpool in the 60s/70s – carving turnips, bobbing for apples and using sheets to pretend to be ghosts. In fact, amiecaitlin hosted her first Halloween party in 1991, aged 2 and three quarters……with a huge pumpkin…….

  2. entertainingelliot says:

    When I was a kid, Halloween meant making a witches outfit out of a black binliner, Dad making me a broomstick and buying a cheap plastic witches hat from the co-op! I used to watch films like ET and be so amazed at the Halloween celebrations in America, even now I would absolutely love to be in the states for halloween!

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