Another of Andy Brady’s not entirely useful guides to life in Glastonbury town.
As October slowly rolls over Glastonbury and knocks all the leaves and apples off the trees, thoughts inevitably turn to the end of the month when, in the streets and houses of the town, and across the fields and part-way up the Tor, Halloween will be. With its origins lost in the mists of time, no-one alive today can say when the modern-day concept of this ancient concept truly began. It is understood by many that Halloween is an American invention, brought to England by diseased witches in 1693. It quickly spread throughout the country and it was not long after this that the history books show how the early Christians, alarmed by the sudden rise in devilry, devilment, devilometry and devilmetal, began introducing laws about what could be recorded in history books. According to the history books, everything suddenly got a lot better after that.
It wasn’t until 1832 that a certain young Mr Dickens bethought himself to write a book himself about a certain festival called, “A Halloween Carol” all about how in the old days when he was his age, children would live in constant fear of being children in those days, because it was so cruel and harsh in those days. And ghosts. There were ghosts in it. Now a best-selling movie and mutli-award winning film, Charles Dickens will always be remembered as the man who best invented most of Halloween. Now wildly popular, this now famous time of year has become a firm fixture in the English calendar, falling as it does on the last day after the full moon before the first Tuesday in any given month except September. Or Or January. But not April, if it is a leap-year. Spooky, isn’t it? Maybe. And so, like its twin sister, Christmas, Halloween is now one of the happiest and least-known events ever to have occurred in the last year or so.
Spooky, isn’t it?
Looking forward to the present day, Halloween is more traditionally remembered as a time when young children of all ages go out in the dark. While this is generally accepted during the rest of the year, it is particularly frightening on the night of Halloween because of their tiny hands and abnormally large heads. To protect themselves from these delightful abominations, adults often barricade themselves inside their own homes, dressing up as people and cowering behind large tubs of sugary treats which they will hurl out from their front door at the slightest provocation. Spooky enough? Probably.
But what about pumpkins? Needless to say, pumpkins are the scariest fruit known to science, and it is to these to whom modern man turns to in his darkest hour. Armed with only a small knife and a rudimentary knowledge of facial geometry, a single adult human can easily bring down one of these magnificent gourds and, with a little help from the special effects people, can make it light up from the inside and emit a faint, cabbagy odour. Gently flickering on doorsteps and driveways, the ghoulish evidence of this ritual genocide serves as a great reminder to melons and marrows alike that life is fleeting and chutney doesn’t make itself. Spooky, no? Yes.
But what is that flitting from house to house? Little, black, leathery wings all a-flitter and high-pitched, squeaky squeaks sqeaking out into the night as it flitters about squeaking? Why, it’s the most terrifying creature of them all; the squirrel. Often mistaken for bats, these tiny monsters have been terrorising mankind for almost over a decade or less and nothing can be done about it. Nothing. While their friendly relative, the bat, is relegated to a solitary life among the trees, hiding nuts. Spooky? Not in the least. So, however you might celebrate this year’s ritual death of October – be it an eerily quiet pint in the Gorgeous Pilgrim or a screamingly quiet stroll part-way up Glastonbury Tor – remember that now is a good time to reflect on the future and remember just how easily we can forget exactly how Halloween is and where it once was all those years ago today, these days. And avoid squirrels.
What really happens in Glastonbury at Halloween?
Well, we dress up and process through the town with some rather large red and white dragons, for the 2019 event page on Facebook see here. For what to expect check out my slightly less silly posts on the subject: from previous years:
If you enjoyed this, do check out Andy Brady’s other guest post for Normal For Glastonbury ‘New Light on Glastonbury Tor‘. Hands up who learnt something new?! Andy Brady is responsible for both the text and the illustration for this piece. Would you like to write for Normal For Glastonbury? We love guest contributors, just get in touch.
Enjoy this post? Buy the Book ‘Normal For Glastonbury: Life in England’s Most Magical Town’
Join the We Are Normal For Glastonbury membership site, for exclusive content, a comprehensive guide to making the most of your visit to the town, a personalized membership certificate, discounts from Glastonbury businesses, a members’ forum and blog page where you can post your own writing and photos. You’ll also be supporting me to carry on writing about and photographing Glastonbury Town and its wonderful creative community. Membership is only £20 a year. Click here to find out more: We Are Normal For Glastonbury.
You can also subscribe to Normal For Glastonbury by email, ‘like’ the Normal for Glastonbury