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Ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties …
In Britain, we’re somewhere between the full-on Trick or Treat fest that our North American cousins enjoy and the slightly darker European traditions linked to paganism and witchcraft when it comes to marking Hallowe’en. In its purest Christian sense, it’s All Hallows Eve, the night before All Saints Day on 1 November. It is also All Souls Day on 2 November, so for Christian folk at least, it’s a time when the departed are very much to the fore. Of course, this ‘celebration’ of death has acquired a new and spooky vocabulary in modern times. We have a lot more monsters to choose from if we’re dressing up for a Hallowe’en party. Because whatever its roots as a festival, Hallowe’en is very much about celebration.There is a change in the air, the clocks have gone back and summer (if we had one at all) has departed. Inevitably, Christmas is already on the horizon. There is no escaping it! It is also usually half term, so the kids are extra excited about having some time off. All in all, Hallowe’en is the start of the last quarter of the year and gateway to a season full of excitement, ritual and wonder. For all its focus on the darker things, Hallowe’en is a homely celebration. It’s about parties and welcoming visitors to your home, even if it’s just the local kids trick or treating at the door. At this point, I’m bound to say that today’s trick or treaters don’t have much in the way of tricks. When I was a boy … well, let’s just say that most of the fun was to be had the following morning when the grumpier souls in our street, the ones who opted for ‘trick’, found their cars quickly spluttered to a halt. It’samazing how effective a potato firmly wedged in the exhaust pipe could be. Don’t do it, kids! Whatever the excuse – and Halloween is a great one – these colder, longer nights are a great reason to curl up on the sofa with a good book (or a spooky film) and be glad that you’re inside and nice and warm. One of the homeliest of the Hallowe’en traditions is the jack o’lantern, usually carved from a pumpkin or, if you’re a hardcore traditionalist, a turnip. It’s amazing how relaxing a flickering candle inside a hollowed-out vegetable can be. Nothing’s wasted either. You can make soup from the flesh and save the seeds to plant for your own seasonal crop next year. Of course, you can enjoy the relaxing warmth of a real flame all year long. It’s just extra nice at this time of year anda Bio Fire is an excellent way to do it – either as a full fireplace or a table ornament. They’re clean and efficient, stylish and a real asset to any home and if you want to add a whiff of seasonal ambience to your living space, there are lots of scents you can use with your fire for that extra seasonal touch!

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