Origins of Halloween

When we were kids we always celebrated Halloween.We believed that if strange things were going happen, then they were more likely to happen at Halloween than at any other time of year. It was tradition to hang out on the streets dressed up in handmade costumes, carrying a carved out turnip head, whilst making a nuisance of ones self.

Halloween day and night has always been a special time for me, I don’t know why, it’s just a feeling that was built in and nurtured by our parents. It’s also probably because my mum always made sure we had a jack O lantern and she actively took part in the turnip head making ritual.

My dad seemed to believe there was something dark and mysterious about the folklore that created such traditions; he also had quite a vivid imagination in matters of the supernatural.

When we were kids we lived in a small town called rawtenstall pronounced “rottenstall” and we always celebrated Halloween. This tradition carried on all through my early teenage life but when I was seventeen and coming home on ‘Halloween night’ from the pub, I had an overwhelming feeling of dissatisfaction that growing up, I was losing the enthusiasm that had always made this night special.

I then swore that from that day on I would make every effort to carry on the family tradition of enthusiastically  celebrating this occasion, what every the circumstances.

The next year just one week before ‘Halloween night’ I approached a group of friends and made plans to do something special by going to Pendle Hill with Mike Peck and Steve Rogers.

The plan was devised in the Barge pub. Steve and myself were going on our motorbikes, one of us would take mike pillon up to pendle and other would bring him back. This sounds a bit strange but neither of us had passed our driving test and could not legally take a pillon passenger, so we decided to split the risk between us.

Thankfully, Steve borrowed his old man’s car and we all went in the car so the risks were averted. We headed off at 7pm and arrived at Pendle hill about 8.30 pm.

Steve parked the car outside the Wells Spring Hotel which is located at the bottom of Pendle Hill. The sky was very black and it was pissing it down but it was October, the time of the year, the horrible weather arrives in England.  We dashed from the car park into the Hotel. 

Inside it was all decorated out with witches, bats and black cats. The entire bar staff where dressed as witches and the atmosphere was vivacious. All the locals were dressed in Halloween costumes and we stayed there all night drinking beer, all except Steve who driving and  he wasn’t too pleased with fact that he couldn’t get drunk and had to drink coke all night.

At kicking out time, half pissed – well some of us- we followed a group of girls up the hill but the climb was too much after belly full of Lancashire beer and Steve was moaning to go home, so we descended and left for Runcorn.

It’s weird but I can always put a song to an event in the past and Abba’s gimme,gimme, gimme a man after midnight always reminds me of that night because it was constantly being played on the jukey all night and me and mike were singing it when we were following them girls up the hill.

The next year I met at the Barge pub again with Pecky, loopy, and the Blackburn’s planning a second Halloween outing up to pendle. We were also trying to persuade spanner ‘the weirdo’ and his mate Andy to come. Spanner and Andy were drinking - when I say drinking that’s drinking not buying - with another lad called Chris mud and we asked him if he wanted to go.

Chris said it was too far and he definitely wasn’t going sixty miles to some hill in the middle of nowhere but we manage to pursued spanner and Andy to come. We left the pub at about 6.30pm and because we got lost in Wigan, we didn’t arrive at Clitheroe until 8.30pm.

I was navigating and I got sort of confused, in a one-way system in pie land. Anyway halfway up a one-way street in Wigan we bumped into a copper who signalled for us to pull over. I told him we were lost and he explained the right route to take without booking us all.

Everyone was hungry by the time we reached Clitheroe so we went in the local chippy for pie dinner and then headed to the pub. I think it was called the ‘Kings Head ‘ and like all the pubs around Pendle at the Halloween it was decorated with bats, cats and witches. We didn’t stay there long, we had a pint or two and a few games of pool.

We rode up to Pendle Hill at about 10pm and had a drink in the wells spring hotel. After closing time we hanged around until the witching hour 12pm, then set off for home. Not long at setting off Brian and john Blackburn decided they were going find somewhere to sleep for the night.

The first place they tried was some big house in the middle of the sticks on the A59 just outside Whalley. They just went up to the front door and asked the women who opened it if they could sleep in her garage. It was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen they looked so daft, mike said they looked like oddbod and oddbod junior out of ‘carry on screaming’. She sent them packing and we set off again.

Further along the A59 we stopped opposite a large farmhouse in a field and left the bikes parked up in a lay-by. We all started walking across the field heading towards the farmhouse when suddenly all the lights came on in the house. Everyone ran back astonished by the sudden flash of lights to where the bikes were parked and we set off again.

Eventually we end up sleeping in an old deserted barn just off the A49. John Blackburn was smoking his head off all night and I thought we were all going to burnt alive in there.

In the morning we had to make a bit of a mad dash out of there as they seemed to be a bit of commotion going on in the farmhouse across the road  opposite.

I made several trips up Pendle hill during the  late 1970’s and  early 1980’s. We sometimes camped in the field  behind Witches Galore in Newchurch and did a tour of the pubs ending up in the Lamb pub in Newchurch.

In 1993 I went up Pendle Hill with Brian Blacky and mike Peck. We went around all the pubs and ended up pissed in The white Horse, Barley. There was some kind of mad fancy dress party going on and the pub was still open when we staggered out at 2AM . We slept in car park in Brians car.

The last time I went up Pendle was Halloween 2ooo with Thomas barker we went in my old ford fiesta and only just made it back because the engine was knackered .

The end              

Halloween is coming

Halloween is coming

Witches will be after you

Big black cats and scary bats

All in black with pointed hats

Oohooh ooh ooh ooh

Halloween is coming

Halloween is coming

Turnip men and pumpkin heads

Horrible brats from council flats

Trick or treat with muddy feet

Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh

Halloween is coming

Halloween is coming

Full moon over Pendle hill

Dark black skies and ghostly cries

Howling wolves with big red eyes

Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh

Halloween is coming

Halloween is coming

Newchurch eye and frogs must die

Witches grave in hidden cave.

Something howls in bad Fell wood

As I’m coming out “ T ‘Lamb pub ”.

Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh

Halloween is coming

Halloween is coming

Pendle brew and Demdike flew

Great wild boar on Sabden moor

Haunted barn right next to Tynedale farm

Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh

Halloween is here

Halloween is here

Pray your names not on the list

Drink more beer till you’re pissed.

Fall to sleep while watching

Freddy, now your nightmares really ready.  

Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh