The first of October gives just 30 days, or more importantly, 30 nights to prepare for the scariest date on the Gregorian calendar, “Halloween”.
Pumpkin growing countries throughout the world grow the fruit for food, but not the UK.(A fruit because pumpkin is a plant that has seeds and grows from a flower.)
The most popular grown specifically for making lanterns is “Jack of All Trades” a good uniform shape and colour and one Lincolnshire farm produces over 2 million a year for Halloween Lanterns.
You will even find some local allotment holders in Silsden growing bright orange pumpkins, all being prepared for the evening of Halloween. The top will be cut off and will then be scraped out inside and a scary face cut out of the remaining orange skin.
A place hollowed out in the base to fit in a candle, to shine through the cut away skin, and finally 2 holes put in either side of the top to carry the lantern around.
The local Co-op will like other stores have a selection of sizes for sale, biggest is not always best, the bigger, the heavier to carry around when Trick or Treating, and the more candles you’d need to make it scary.
Silsden was not the only place in the UK never to celebrate Halloween in any great form until the last 5 or 10 years.
As a kid i remember having a “Tunip Lamp”, and that what it was, mum would take out all the flesh to use for tea and we would have the hollowed out Turnip.
It was a bittersweet situation, most kids hated turnip, i still do, but it was worth eating at one meal just for the lantern.
To be honest i just thought lanterns were produced for bonfire night, the week after.
We used ours then and at the end of the night burnt them in the embers.
I’m sure this year some firm will be producing “Happy Halloween Cards” or even the personalized ones, “Happy Halloween Mam”
Now apart from parties and functions on a fine, but usually freezing Halloween night you will see scores of children with parents walking the streets of Silsden, the children now carrying carrier bags to store their rewards.
A rat a tat tat of the doorknocker and the householder would be confronted with children with capes, masks or faces with costume make up on.
“Trick or Treat” is the request and they are offered treats of confectionery or sweets.
A short trip “ower thill” to Ilkley will see all manner of Halloween themed confectionery in Betty’s shop window from buns and tarts to artistically crafted loafs of bread.
Within a 10 mile radius of Silsden by “Googling” West Yorkshire Halloween you will find many Halloween themed events, spooky, torch lit walks at Ogden Water with a firework display, Eureka in Halifax has a witching hour and fancy dress parade, Haworth has its own “Hawortheen” festival, graveyard walks, dark village street walks and a Dragon day, you will also find Ghost stories, parades and spooky events in other local towns.
Love it or loath it Halloween is now an important part of the children’s calendar, so “Happy Halloween” to all I know and love, that should save me a few bob on cards and postage…None found.