Halloween In The UK - a potted history.

In The Early Days

Whilst meandering around a supermarket earlier in the week I couldn't help but notice the huge array of Halloween merchandise on sale and how the majority of it is now aimed at young children. When we opened our first retail party shop in 1974 Halloween celebrations in this country did not even exist (well not from a retailer's point of view). Over the years we started to add a few related products, i.e. spider web wool and a few orange and black crepe rolls. We are talking 1970's here. Gradually the demand grew and soon witch's brooms, hats, noses, warts and other paraphernalia came on the market. In these early days we were the only retail outlet in our town where you could buy Halloween related products.

The American Influence.

After a few years the influence from the United States finally hit here and our whole year seemed to be a countdown to Halloween. I can remember one year in particular, having to stand at the door of the shop counting people in as I counted people out. The queue went all the way down the street. It was all about adults wanting to dress up and party, nothing aimed at children in those days.

The 'big boys' soon caught on and before we knew it the supermarkets were very strong competition. Their massive buying power became very difficult to compete with. We continued to specialise with the things they could not be bothered with (personal customer service being one of them). It then became apparent that the main customer target for them was children.

It just made me think as I meandered, how huge this annual event has become. Are people really aware of what they are celebrating? I'm sure the kids don't know and I'm pretty sure they don't care.


Halloween Dracula Cut-out