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posted Nov 11, 2014, 8:59 PM by J Norton
In the village we live in, Halloween is celebrated along with Guy Fawkes in a typically English way of mixing everything together, taking bits from other cultures, and embellishing it.

My granddaughters dressed up at witches, and rather than tricking or treating, we gathered together and paraded about the village as soon as dusk fell to see how well each other had carved and lit pumpkins, and put out displays of ghosts and ghouls, skeletons and graves, before ending up in a field to see Guy Fawkes burned on a bonfire, eat sausages and burgers, and watch fireworks light the sky.

We have put on a large-ish display for many years, as we utilise the end of a small road where a corner turns. We raised a witch on a broomstick, the head of a murdered bride, and a ghost in a white robes zipped from tree to tree along a wire. We had a tombstone, another set of heads made by my granddaughters which were sitting at a table eating bugs and bones in blood, a couple of skeletons (one of which is still occasionally luminous), skulls and other horrid things, much to the delight of the children.

This year my husband had to attend a Halloween party to celebrate a colleague who was retiring to live abroad. It had been decided everyone would go in costume, but my husband wanted something easy to wear, so I made him a Merlin costume, using a long white wig and beard, a magician type robe, a stout stick, with a crystal on the top.

When he arrived at the party the younger members immediately called him Gandalf, and the name stuck.

He looked very good, so I insisted he made up part of the village display, and as you can see from the photo, he was amazing.

True, the weather was on our side, there was a stiff breeze blowing, so the witch slid back and forth, the ghost, hung with chains clanked happily, and as the crowd approached to view the scene the moon appeared from behind a cloud, over his shoulder.

The group came to a halt as Gandalf thumped his staff and cried out greetings, and seemed to stand rooted to the spot, until one boy advanced closer and then announced, 'You're not Gandalf, you've got a checked shirt on, just like my Granddad!

Once again Gandalf banged his staff, and instructed him and the crowd to go forth, which after due deliberation, they did, to view other displays before ending up all of us watching a bonfire and fireworks spiralling in the sky.