Halloween in the U.K is very similar to how it is in the U.S. Kids dress up in all the usual costumes and roam around the neighborhoods seeking candy. Some neighborhoods see very little activity, others are more popular. It is a little tricky in some areas as houses are at the end of long dark driveways behind rows of tall hedges. It is a much more eery feeling to roam around in the dark, and with a full moon this year!
Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night is the big celebration this time of year in England. Traditionally on November 5th, it commemorates a failed attempt to blow up the House of Lords and kill King James I back in 1605. Yes 1605! They don’t forget things around here. London celebrated the failed attempt by lighting bonfires and that tradition continues in little villages and towns all around England. For the past several weekends towns have hosted their gigantic bonfires and set up large fireworks displays. We’ve been listening to the explosions late at night. This is the time of year for fireworks in England and they can be purchased everywhere. All types are legal so it is not uncommon to see a neighbor setting off flying fireworks in their backyard or garden.
The bonfires can be enormous. Think of a giant pile of crates and 2x4s as tall and wide as your house set on fire in the middle of a park. Now that is a bonfire. Fireworks and exploding objects are sometimes placed inside the bonfire to ignite along the way. Good thing it rains nearly everyday and everything is green and wet around here. Sometimes the villain of the year may be burned in effigy. For example, one village burned a likeness of Lance Armstrong as he was caught in his web of mistakes this year.
We attended the Woking fireworks celebration this weekend. It was a nice family event at a large park. They had carnival rides, food and a giant fireworks show that felt like a small town celebration to warm up a cold clear night.