I am using conversational English to describe Halloween. The passage includes many linking words and often sentences run into one another making this listening exercise a challenge!
So Halloween in England is, like everywhere else, is on the last day of October. The 31st of October. There isn’t a holiday. It is not a Bank Holiday . We don’t have a holiday on the 1st of November.
The shops are full of costumes and resources and games and jokes well before October. Usually in September we have shop displays in Orange and Black and White showing us that Halloween is coming, two months early.
It’s fun but nowadays it has become very commercialised and also very Americanised. For children the main objective of Halloween, the thing they are looking forward to, is the ‘Trick or Treat’.
This can be good fun but sometimes young people take it too far and If you don’t give them any sweets or money when they come knocking at your door you may find you have eggs thrown at your house or sometimes, even worse, your car windscreen smashed or your tyres slashed.
I’ve always enjoyed Halloween because I like making things. I like making pumpkin lanterns. I like making ghosts and witches. I used to really enjoy making parties for our children. We had lots and lots of fun and we played some really fun games. Some traditional ones like Bob Apple where you have a bowl of water . A very large bowl or a tin bath and you put lots of apples in the water. Then the person who manages to get an Apple out without using his hands is the winner. So the rule is to put your hands behind your back and you can only use your mouth.
The other (game) which is very similar is where you have apples hung from the ceiling and the first person again who manages to take a bit out of the Apple is the winner.
One really great game for children if you’ve got some trees in the garden is this. I used to choose a different colour of wool for each child and, before they arrived when it was still light, I would wind the wool round all the trees in the garden. Then when it went dark I gave each child a torch and a ball of wool. The person who managed to untangle the wool and wind the wool up, without breaking it and brought it to me, was the winner. Of course they all get tangled up and it does take a long time and there’s lots of laughter and fun and it is a really good game.
Of course in England and probably in most other countries, I don’t know, children always expect something to take home at the end of the party. They expect a Party Bag. I’m not so sure that’s a brilliant idea but unfortunately that’s how it is now. So, to make it a little bit more interesting I used to have an activity for the Halloween party and they actually make things to go into their party bags. So they made little spiders and witches and little ghosts, ghouls, from ChupaChups lollies and pipe -cleaners and little bits of cloth. It just meant that for half an hour they were actually engaged in an activity which was fun. It also helped to calm them down before the end of the party.
If you look at my website: http://www.jumblefun.net you will find videos showing you how to make the little party bag gifts.