This Is (Very Nearly) Halloween

In the true spirit of Halloween, which I have had confirmed is solidly rooted in tradition based in these fair isles and not purely American as some are led to believe (Thanks Sam!), I attended about as much as I could afford. My last event at the London Month of the Dead yesterday was all about Bram Stoker the author of Dracula. Then I popped into Redbridge Library and Museum which I have been meaning to go to for months and saw their beautiful Day of the Dead themed celebrations. Later on in the evening I carved pumpkins with two amazing friends and watched Coco.

Laura D pointed out the skeleton at the front to me, I must have just not noticed somehow!

Amazing artwork at Redbridge Library

My attempt at Zero from Nightmare Before Christmas

Today I made myself (with some influence from Laura B also) take full advantage of the extra hour and poorly swam my way through over half a kilometre. I probably go on about this a lot but I only learnt to swim as an adult so my slow lane, badly formed breaststroke is something I’m actually quite proud of. Drowning was a big fear of mine before I learnt and mostly still is, but I can now tread water for a while which I check every time I go swimming. That could be a lifesaver couldn’t it, just hope I never have to find out how long I can go for.

This evening I went to a twilight tour of Abney Park, possibly my favourite of all the Magnificent Seven, with Sam Perrin who hosted a Halloween themed tour. We ventured through the history of Halloween traditions and then visited five graves of notable figured from Victorian London including occultists, an executionist and a wizard! It was such fun, and I really do keep feeing myself drawn to the history talks more recently. I have found a new love in what I do but deep down I’ll always be obsessed by the past.

Fabulous Sam telling us all about a wizard mesmerist Queen of Abney Park Cemetery

Halloween is something I am constantly scorned for celebrating. I am accused of being American and enjoying morbid things. I have, and always will, love this time of year for the spookiness of it all. However I don’t think I can be accused of such things when my ancestors a couple of thousand years ago (Remember my DNA test that I’m 93% English, 3% Irish/Scottish and 4% Norwegian!) wouldn’t have seen much harm in my joining in of the celebrations this time of year noting the change in the seasons and remembering the dead.

I just think it’s a lot more difficult and disturbing to carve a more traditional turnip if I’m honest.

Image from Atlas Obscura– possibly one of the creepiest things I’ve seen in a long time. I think it’s the tiny teeth.

MG x

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