I’m not sure if its an actual word but I suppose I would consider myself a sort of Americaphile. A big fan of US popular culture and the food. Oh the food. I blame all those imported TV shows I grew up watching and the young teen fiction I loved reading, and somewhere I’ve still got a very modest collection of Archie comics. But what I love most of all about visiting the US is timing the trips for Halloween. Yeah ok, I’m too old for Trick or Treating but not too old for admiring all those fabulous displays and cooing at the abundance of Pumpkins dotted around. Halloween fever just hasn’t caught on here in the same way it has in the US, we Brits don’t seem so keen on decorating our homes with skeletons and pop-up ghouls, especially if there is a chance you’ll wake up one morning to find someone has messed with your pumpkin display. And so, I must get my fix elsewhere.
So we begin in Salem, Massachusettes in October 2010. A little corner of the world most famous for the Witch Trials of 1692 where scores of people were accused of witchcraft and imprisoned, 20 of them were sentenced to death.
There is something about the US clapboard, grand victorian house which really appeals to me. Its like a giant gingerbread dollshouse.
Today, It is estimated that 10% of Salem’s residents are modern day witches. You can see by strolling its high street and browsing its many charming magic and herb shops that the spirit of witchcraft is very much embraced here.
This Salem resident appears to love Halloween more than I do. In this backyard, blood spurted from various places and the guillotine was motorised. Of course.
But we mustn’t forget that Salem also has a very rich maritime history thats well worth exploring once you’ve gotten over all that witchy excitement
From here we move on to Halloween in San Francisco 2013.
A foggy day in the city made this visit to Alacatraz Island particularly atmospheric and eerie
Back on the mainland, Little Red Riding Hood went for a walk in Golden Gate Park but wandered into Sleepy Hollow
We don’t have pretty painted victorians like these over here in the UK, I thought this one in particular looked chocolatey and autumnal
I want to live in this amazingly decorated spooky house. That is all.
There was something about this October evening in San Francisco with its thick fog and twinkling lights that made me feel as though there was definitely something magical in the air…
And lastly you must meet Claude! What does Claude have to do with Halloween you ask? Well, have you ever seen an albino alligator before? His striking colour would make him extremely vulnerable in the wild as he doesn’t have the swampish camouflage that you would normally see on ‘gators, so he now lives at the California Academy of Sciences, SF. I find him incredibly weird and wonderful at the same time, don’t you? Halloween is a time when we can all let our darker sides come out to play. That is what I think Halloween should really be about.
Claude fails at going incognito…