Halloween: Learn about its history and what you can do in Havering this spooky season

18:00 26 October 2013

Jack O'Lanterns come from an old Irish tradition

Jack O'Lanterns come from an old Irish tradition

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Every October 31, we dig out our old vampire, ghosts and witches costumes and go trick or treating, or we bob for apples at Halloween parties, or we might just stay in and watch a classic horror movie.

There is plenty to do for all ages this HalloweenThere is plenty to do for all ages this Halloween

But how did this tradition of Halloween begin?

Halloween – once better known as All Hallow’s Eve - began around 2,000 years ago and was part of the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain.

It was believed on this night, the worlds of the living and the dead would overlap and the dead would come back to life to cause mayhem.

On Halloween, many wore costumes and masks to either hide their identities from the dead, or in an attempt to appease the evil spirits by mimicking them.

Souling, now better known as trick or treating, also started in the Middle Ages where children would dress up and beg for money or food in exchange for songs and prayers, which they said they did on behalf of the dead.

Jack O’Lanterns became part of the tradition, thanks to the Irish folklore of Stingy Jack, who was punished for tricking the Devil by being sent into the night with only a burning coal.

Stingy Jack then placed the lump of coal into a carved-out pumpkin and when Irish immigrants travelled to America, the home of the pumpkin, it was instead used to make the Jack O’Lanterns we know today.

So before you run off to go trick or treating, just remember that Halloween is more than just an excuse to get sweets!

Here are a few things you can do this Halloween:

Halloween Trail

Follow the creepy clues at the Halloween Trail in Thorndon Country Park.

With spooky riddles to solve and a prize at the end, this is guaranteed to be a fun day out.

The walk starts at 10.30am in The Avenue, Brentwood, on October 30.

The trail is suitable for those aged three years and older. Tickets cost £4 and there is free entry for adults.

For more information call 0845 603 7624.

Children’s Halloween party

Let your children celebrate Halloween at a special party for those aged between five and 10.

The party will be held on the October 31 from 11am to noon at the Gidea Park Library in Balgores Lane.

Admission is £5 for library members and £5.50 for non-members.

For more details visit

Meet Ghost Hunters

Join the world of a ghost hunter for one night only at the Collier Row Library.

On October 28, an Essex ghost hunting team will tell you about the equipment needed to find the paranormal and will share their own chilling tales.

The night starts at 7pm and booking is essential so to secure your place please call 01708 434 936.

The Woman in Black

Scare yourself silly at the production of the horror story The Woman in Black.

A production of the Susan Hill novel will be performed tomorrow (Saturday), Sunday and, and November 2 at 8pm at the Brookside Theatre in Eastern Road, Romford.

Tickets cost £13 and the money will go towards helping the Meningitis Trust.

For further details call 01708 755775.


Stuck for things to do this Halloween? We’ve found some more fun and frightening events in the borough and further afield for you to take part in.

Let the children run free on October 28 at a free trick or treat hunt around Romford Shopping Hall, running from 10am-4pm. Go to Alpha Books on the ground floor to start the day.

But if this doesn’t take your fancy, then perhaps you should head to Wat Tyler County Park in Basildon, where you can experience Cursed, a terrifying walk that will scare you senseless.

Top Golf in Chigwell will also be holding a House of Horrors themed party, serving “shocktails” with a DJ playing music till 1am.


Latest Romford News Stories

Yesterday, 17:33
Residents from Orchard Village warn against plans for 750 homes in New Road, Rainham

People angered by a host of problems on their estate have staged a protest about the housing association as it presented new plans for 750 homes.

Yesterday, 12:54
Police were called after reports of an incident at the Thomson travel agency in Upminster this morning

Police are attending an incident at a travel agents with reports that the building has been cordoned off.

Yesterday, 10:00
Beaux Beatz members Jasmine Hood, Charlie Dillon, Charlee-Lou Borthwick, Tyresse Aaron Ryan and Macey Broom

Hoping to make the big time, young members of a pop group are showing they have the x factor by making it through to the live shows of a singing competition.

Yesterday, 07:00
Mother and daughter Sandra Goldsmith and Vikki Powell who are fundraising after both having being diagnosed with breat cancer

A mum had the devastating shock of being told she had breast cancer just a day before her daughter’s final day of treatment in her own battle with the disease.

Thu, 15:06
Canine partners, train dogs to help disabled people manage their day to day lives, take clothes out of washing machine, cards into/out ATMs etc.
The service is hoping to branch out into Havering but needs people to train the dogs.
Glynis Wotheboys, Andrew Skingley, and Emily Lawrence, with Garon the dog

A charity which hopes to attract dog lovers to train puppies to assist people with physical disabilities is holding an information day on Saturday.

Thu, 13:47
The girls on a saturday night out. Picture Mark Sepple.

Had enough of the Brexit debate, gorillas and 2016 in general?

Thu, 12:10
Rubbish left at Orchard Village, Rainham

Businesses have called for a cross-borough team to rid the area of illegal traveller encampments and tackle “criminally organised” fly-tipping.

Thu, 09:51
Ronan Moore, 2, and Riley Chambers-Cooke, 3, in the lift with Ian McCarthy, crew manager from Dagenham. Picture: Vickie Flores.

Families got the chance to take a closer look at the life of a firefighter as Romford fire station opened its doors as part of London Fire Brigade’s 150th anniversary celebrations.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news


Show Job Lists

News from your area


Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.


£3,000 goes a long way at Boots

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

Kit yourself out and go Apple mad!

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now