jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk BLOG Tuesday 2nd November 2021



Halloween, on Sunday 31st October, was supposed to be spooky and scary I guess it was but also it was awesome!

For a start we gained an hour putting clocks back, which can’t be bad. Then we got an invite to a Halloween Party hosted by two of our grandson’s aged 9 and 6, respectively.

They also invited their Mum and Dad. Also, their cousins, aged 8 and 5 years old. And their cousin’s Mum and Dad. In addition, they invited me and Mamma. That made 10 of us in total.

I love the fact that all four of our grandchildren get the most they can out of life. They’ve had drilled into them since Day Zero that you’ve got to have a dream, you’ve got to have a sense of humour and you got to have a smile on your face. So, by now it comes as second nature.

I have to say I feel I should come up with alternative words to amazing and awesome for this event, but they are the only words that acurately describe the evening.

We start off with the costumes of my four grandchildren. A ghost, a Zombie Cheerleader, a werewolf and a skeleton. So, amazingly professional along with carefully, artistically and realistically applied face paints. I’ve never seen so much fake blood.

In our day it was a crude mask made out of a Cornflakes box or Weetabix box. Even when our daughters attempted Halloween in the 1980s we relied on the trusty black dustbin bags.

Then of course there were the house decorations almost (but not quite) as extravagant and spectacular as Christmas decorations.

As 5.00pm struck on the cuckoo clock, or more likely the croaking bat clock, it was decided to go Trick ‘n’ Treatin’. At first, I was a little apprehensive as I just wore my ordinary, everyday civvies. But then I was reassured I really looked the part in my bright orange Jack Wolfskin all-weather outer jacket over my rotunda barrel like beer belly. I was a dead ringer for an overgrown pumpkin.

And the first thing that attracted me about Mamma was her huge black circled panda eyes which of course she still has. And as she has been suffering from the dreaded cold that has been doing its rounds, her face is a very contrasting vivid white. That all gave her the perfect Bride of Frankenstein’s Monster look.

Once out in the fresh air it was a biting cold strong wind that kept us on the move. The fresh air was the main smell of the evening, apart from the smell of terror.

We joined hundreds probably thousands of other folks, in the neighbourhood Trick ‘n’ Treatun’. I was astounded by the numbers. It was as busy as Oxford Street, London, as it used to be in its heyday, on a Saturday afternoon.

Lots of children, similar age to our grandchildren, superbly dressed up as ghouls, ghosts, witches, skeletons, werewolves, zombies and monsters, with adults blending into the background keeping careful watchful eye.

The atmosphere was wonderful, electric and happy and friendly as everyone went from door to door gathering their treats. Everyone followed the unwritten code of only visiting the houses that were Halloween decorated. And that seemed to be every other house. Residence must have invested hundreds of pounds in decorating the outside of their houses. Amazing! There is no other word for it. There was such unbelievable artistic creativity.

And then at each house such an abundance of treats for every caller. Again, an awful lot of money had been spent on them. At some doors there were even bowls full of treats left on the doorstep for Trick ‘n’ Treaters to help themselves. The great thing was I never saw one child abuse it or be greedy.

At each door our children asked, “Trick or Treat?”. Everyone responded “Treat”. I do not know what would have happened if someone had replied “Trick”, it would have put the whole show into panic because no one would have known what to do?

As usual my mind did a momentary analysis. It’s in my jeans (genes) after working so many years as an accountant and never ever having any money. But Halloween must be big business now with the amount of money spent on such elaborate costumes for the children and in some cases adults, but not particularly my pumpkin look. The elaborate house decorations inside and out – millions must have been spent on them to make them look that good.

Then of course there were literally cauldron loads of goodies adding to Mr Mars and Mr Cadbury billions. And of course, Mrs Tesco and M/s Sainsbury and Fräulein Aldi who would also have scored out on the mountain of food, goodies and puddings for the Halloween feasts.

I was so intrigued at the size of the Halloween business in the UK. So, I could not wait to ask Alexa.

“Alexa! What is the size of the UK Halloween market?” I asked confidently.

“Halloween is celebrated on 31st October 2021.” Alexa replied, stupidly.

I tried again. “Alexa! What is the size of the UK Halloween market?” I asked less confidently.

“The Halloween market is worth $6billion in the USA.” Replied the idiotic woman. What bit of “Alexa! What is the size of the UK Halloween market?” does Alexa not understand?

I tried a third time.

“The UK Halloween market is worth £200 million being the third largest season behind Christmas and Easter.” Alexa responded, obviously detecting the frustration and anger in my voice.

I somehow did not trust Alexa and thought she was just making it up and saying the first figure she thought of. I searched Google. Apparently in 2019 the Halloween business in the UK was worth £474 million.

I also found: Our research shows that UK spend will smash through £500m for the first time and that it will be the value retailers such as B&M, Amazon and Aldi that capture most of that attention and spend.

Compared to a $8bn spend in the US, this is still a relatively small amount of money spent per head, but clearly there is still a lot of headroom for further growth. Interestingly, this growth will increasingly be driven by millennials without kids as much as families.

Just proves Alexa just makes it up.

Back in the mid-1980s I worked for a toy company who were owned by an American parent. Halloween was big in the USA even then. But not in the UK. You couldn’t buy anything Halloween themed in a store. There was a strong religious objection to it, which was one thing that held it back.

But our parent company were big in Halloween in the States and wanted to launch and lead the Halloween market revolution in the UK.

We managed to get full Halloween displays in most major chain stores big in those days but some long since gone: Woolworth, Toys R Us, Debenhams, Toymaster, Tesco, WH Smith, Coop. The merchandise was made up of witch’s hats and capes, broomsticks, masks, make-up etc.

It was a very different and tough world compared to today’s upmarket Halloween.

Back at my daughter and son in laws house with cauldrons and buckets filled with treats we partied. But the doorbell rang continuously as more Trick ‘n’ Treaters tried their luck.

As the evening progressed so did the age of Tick ‘n’ Treaters: 5-6 pm, toddlers to 9 year olds, 6-7 pm 10-15 year olds, 7-8 pm mini skirted late teens, and that’s just the boys.

My granddaughter posted herself on the door in her Zombie Cheerleader outfit with a caldron of treats. She loved being front of house greeting everyone. That left us to enjoy all the delicious Halloween fayre.

The only problem was my daughter received a text from some very close friends. It said they had tried to visit them coming to the door Trick ‘n’ Treating and a strange kid they did not know answered the door and gave them a treat and shut the door in their faces.

Maybe they got both a Trick and a Treat. A real bonus.

 Time though to move on. Surely Bonfire Night will struggle to compete. We approach it with open mind and we will see.




  1. 2021 Expected £607 million
  2. 2020 £536 million
  3. 2019 £475 million
  4. 2018 £419 million
  5. 2017 £400 million
  6. 2016 £310 million
  7. 2015 £295 million
  8. 2014 £275 million
  9. 2013 £230 million
  10. 2001 £12 million (do you think it was that low really?)

REMEMBER: The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.

– Nicolas Chamfort


 “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucius


Happiness is…a good Halloween Trick ‘n’ Treat.


Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?


Love is…inspiring each other


A time to go door to door Trick ‘n’ Treatin’…A time to stay home answering the door and handing out Tricks ‘n’ Treats.


2nd November

1896 The first motor insurance policies were issued in Britain, but they excluded damage caused by frightened horses.

1924 Almost 11 years after its appearance in America, the first crossword puzzle was published in a British newspaper, sold to the Sunday Express by C.W. Shepherd.

1936 The world’s first regular TV service was started by the British Broadcasting Corporation at Alexandra Palace at 3:00 p.m. It was defined as ‘high-definition’ (with 200 lines of resolution) and was renamed BBC1 in 1964. An estimated 100 TV owners tuned in.

1953 The foundation of the Samaritans, (the world’s first crisis hotline organisation), by the Anglican priest Chad Varah, who was born in Barton-upon-Humber, Lincolnshire.

1954 The comedy series ‘Hancock’s Half Hour’ was first broadcast on BBC Radio.

1959 The opening of Watford Gap Services, (see ©BB picture) the oldest motorway services in Britain. The M1 – between Junction 5 (Watford) and Junction 18 (Crick/Rugby) opened on the same day. Watford Gap has long been hailed as the unofficial cut-off point between the two parts of the country, with ‘southerners’ sometimes criticised for not venturing north of it.

1960 Penguin publishers were cleared of obscenity for printing the D.H. Lawrence novel ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’. The first edition was printed privately in Florence in 1928 but the unexpurgated edition could not be published openly in the United Kingdom until 1960. The book was notorious at the time for its story of the physical relationship between a working-class man and an upper-class woman, with explicit descriptions of sex, and its use of then-unprintable words.

1963 Gerry & the Pacemakers reached the number one spot with ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.

1964 The first episode of the television soap opera ‘Crossroads’ was broadcast on ITV.

1981 Citizens Band radio (CB radio) was legally allowed in Britain.






©2021 Phil M Robinson