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Barbara Barton Sloane

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Fright Night In America And Across the Pond

Posted: 10/31/11 09:15 AM ET

As we gear up for our own gory and ghostly celebrations in America, let's check out how our British neighbors across the pond celebrate Halloween.


Night of the Living Dead

The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc, including sickness and damaged crops. The festival frequently involved bonfires and in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or appease them, masks and costumes were worn. The practice of Trick-or-Treating resembles the late medieval practice of "souling," when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas, November 1, receiving food in return for prayers for the dead.

Today, both in the UK and here, kids and adults continue to dress up, parade, party and hopefully keep the mayhem to a safe and happy level.

The Parades

New York's Village Halloween Parade is an annual event and street pageant, the largest in the US, and held on Halloween night in Greenwich Village. Everyone wearing a costume is welcome to join hundreds of puppets, dozens of floats, 53 bands, dancers, artists, and yes, thousands of clowns. The lineup starts at 6:30 p.m., Sixth Avenue south of Spring Street and north of Canal.

In London, Fright Night is Britain's biggest Halloween party, attracting up to 40,000 people to the Sheffield City Centre each year. It happened on Sunday, October 30, when all the streets around the center will be closed for a mass promenade. There will be a fancy dress catwalk, fun rides/stalls, stilt walkers, live music, fire spinning and some frightening surprises and, best of all, thousands of people in amazing fancy dress.

Where to Eat
Carrying over the holiday dress-up theme, at Soho's Secret Tea Room, vintage-clad cuties serve scones while swing plays on the gramophone. Borough Market, popular and crowded on Saturday, works very well on a weekday visit.

Where to Stay
Reasonable: Park Plaza Westminster Bridge is newly opened and within walking distance to the city's most iconic attractions, http://www.parkplaza.com/london-hotel.
From this lower-priced lodging to the - well, quite frankly, sublime -

The Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, located in the heart of Mayfair and steps away from Hyde Park and Knightsbridge, captures a unique sense of place with its distinctive park-side location and sweeping views over Hyde Park and Westminster. The hotel has built a whole new floor to house their recently.

 

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