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Goodbye British Summer Time! Hello Halloween!

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Sean | 15:33 UK time, Sunday, 31 October 2010

Well, it's the last day of Summer in Britain! Or at least it's the end of BST - we all woke up in Britain today with an extra hour in the day! The clocks went back. I thought I got up at 9am only to discover it was now 8am! So, with that extra hour I thought I'd post my final blog for this month... it's November tomorrow! That means today it's ... 31st October! Be afraid, be very afraid!

Colin Strain holds a torch under his chin to create a spooky image

Colin Strain sent the BBC this photo of himself at a Halloween party

a young boy with a frightening Halloween mask on

Someone I met yesterday on the seafront at Brighton! Read on to find out more!

I must say that I've really enjoyed being the guest Teacher for October - reading all your comments and, of course, reading Miguel's fascinating posts about Peru, has been a real treat. Talking of treats - have you ever been asked 'Trick or Treat'? Well, many people in the UK and, particularly the USA, will be hearing that a lot later this evening as children - and maybe some adults - will be knocking on doors up and down the country, dressed as ghosts and ghouls threatening to play a "Trick" on us unless we've got a "Treat" for them! The treats are usually some sweets, which you'd be well advised to have by the door ready to give out - because if you don't you may get a trick! That's usually a harmless bit of fun, like putting treacle or honey on your door handle or emptying your rubbish bins in the garden... but it could be annoying! So, most people will give out sweets as treats! Wouldn't you?!

Some children dressed up for Halloween

Cornelia Cardew sent the BBC this photo of some children dressed up for Halloween

Trick-or-Treating is one of the customary celebrations of Halloween - the annual holiday celebrated on October 31st, mainly in the UK, the USA, Canada and Ireland... though a lot of the activities now happen all over the world. As well as trick-or-treating, people get dressed up in, usually scary costumes, make lanterns out of pumpkins, play jokes or pranks on each other and often watch horror films or tell ghost stories!
You see how a lot of the themes of the past month - Miguel's early posts reminding me of ghosts... King Henry VIII and his divorce from Catherine and break with the Catholic Church redefining how the English see ghosts, and of course Miguel's recent post about Living Between Angels and Demons - has all led up to Halloween!! Spooky!

Halloween (or Hallowe'en) has its roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain (which roughly means Summer's end and was a harvest festival) and in the Christian holiday All Saints' Day (also called All Halllows or Hallowmas where Hallows means saints and mas means mass), in honour of all the saints known and unknown.

These days Halloween is largely a secular celebration; although I just saw on the BBC News website that a Bishop has said that the Church should reclaim Halloween.
I'm not sure the people I saw yesterday would agree. I was walking along the seafront in Brighton and, as well as the usual crowds of locals and tourists, was rather surprised to see a procession of zombies!

some people dressed up as zombies

Zombies walking along the seafront in Brighton!

Maybe they were locals and tourists as well, but they were pretty frightening! There were I think hundreds of them! Apparently this annual 'Zombie Walk' all started about four years ago, organised through internet sites Myspace and Facebook, in honour of zombie movies such as Dawn of the Dead.

two girls dressed as zombie nurses on brighton pier

Zombie nurses on Brighton Pier!

This year there were quite a few 'doctors', 'nurses', even 'police' zombies - some holding placards protesting about the cuts in the public sector which were announced by the Chancellor George Osborne on 20 October. Whatever, it was an amazing spectacle. Certainly not what I was expecting when I went for a walk along the Brighton seafront! Here are a few more photos from yesterday -

sign of Brighton on Brighton pier with seagulls flying by

Seagulls fly past a sign on Brighton Pier

a zombie on Brighton seafront!

A zombie on Brighton seafront gets a little too close for comfort!

three zombies on Brighton seafront

More zombies in Brighton yesterday!

Brighton seafront on a cloudy October day

I love Brighton on days like these!

But enough of zombies for the moment. Let's get back to ghosts and spirits! A few of you have asked questions about Henry VIII and about my out of body experience! Here are some answers to your questions -

Yes, basically Henry's 6th wife survived because he died before her! He married her in 1543. She was a wealthy widow and although she argued with him over religion, some say she survived by a show of submissiveness! But I think she must have been quite clever too... she was the one who made peace between Henry and his first two daughters, Lady Mary and Lady Elizabeth - who of course went on to be the amazing Queen Elizabeth the First.

My out of body experience was not a dream... it was more of a realisation. Others were asking about it too... well all I can say is that at the age of about 16 I remembered it... but it was stronger than that - it was a realisation of a reality. I don't even know how it came to me. It just did.

Thanks for your kind comments. It's been a pleasure for me too communicating with you. Yes I know the actor Gerard Butler - a very good actor I agree.

Good to see you here Abeer! You too wanted to know how Henry's sixth wife survived... no doubt you saw my answer above. As for my answer to your questions - I think that the ingredients for success are passion, patience, persistence and perhaps (if that's not enough p's already!) - pacing yourself. As for the definition of success I agree with you and Pary that it's about being happy or content with what life brings... we should all count our blessings!

Thanks so much for your compliments - I loved your analogy of the 'Teaser Ad' ... I like to keep people hooked!

Some of you have asked about the photo of me relaxing on the Nile! Yes a strange photo I admit. Even stranger, earlier today I was having my breakfast I heard a familiar voice from the TV. It was my friend Paolo reporting from Brazil. You see it was Poalo who took that photo and in fact it was he who invited me on that trip on the Nile... I had been working very hard in Cairo running up to the launch of our co-production BBCe! with Egypt Radio and he said I should join him and some friends for a relaxing 3 days and nights on a faluca, the traditional sail boat. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I certainly soon relaxed as you can see!

Finally, I have to say I have really enjoyed learning all about Peru.

It's been a real pleasure being your guest Teacher! And thank you so much for your wonderful words and photos... I am sure we would all agree that you are a great writer. I loved your introduction to Living between Angels and Demons... and the suspense you brought with all your references to 'he' ... who finally you revealed was the devil! It was also fascinating to learn more about The Huace and the City. I certainly now want to visit Peru and will happily use your blog as a guide book if ever I do! Thanks again. Your English is very good, only occasionally do you make mistakes and often these are 'interferences' from your mother tongue, Spanish... below I have a few final notes for you. Keep up the good work!

Thank you again for all your comments. As I have enjoyed it so much I think I'll be back but perhaps in the Staff blog... I realise that I still need to tell you and ask you about the mysterious 7th paragraph in my first post... you see Ashish... I still like to be a 'teaser ad'... so watch out for me there - I'll tell you more about the exciting new developments and as always be glad to hear what you think of the work we all do at BBC Learning English. Bye for now!

All the best

Some comments on Miguel's English -

As usual, excellent overall. Just a few notes here -
We say in English 'the sixteenth century' rather than the sixteen century
We would say 'He made me welcome' or 'welcomed me' rather than he gave me the welcome
When talking about neighbouring countries we say 'On the border' rather than in the borderline
'His wide shiny eyes' is the expression you want rather than his wide eyes shinny
A note about word order - we say 'He was recently named' rather than he recently was named
Also, remember 'In February' rather than on February (that's ok if on a specific date eg: on February 14th)
When talking about large abstract ideas or notions, we don't use the definite article so 'Good and Evil' rather than the good and evil; and 'Everything has been touch by the modernity' should be 'Everything has been touched by modernity.'
We say people dress as someone / something and wear an item of clothing. So 'People who represent Evil dress (rather than wear) as demons and wear masks of devils and people who represent good dress (rather than wear) as an angels'.
'although his family wasn't disagree' should be 'although his family didn't agree' or maybe you mean 'although his family didn't mind or object'
And a few 'Spanish-isms' -
connotation religious should be religious connotation
we say discuss something so discuss the production of food; and talk about something so talk about the production of food
'as a result appeared new religions' should be (word order) 'as a result, new religions appeared'
And -
visitants should be visitors... but I'm sure your blog has encouraged plenty of people to visit Peru! Well done, Miguel!

Some explanations of my English -

a real treat
Something very special

You'd be well advised to
It's a good idea to

A syrup made during the refining of sugar cane

A large yellow or orange squash; often made into a soup

Practical jokes, silly games

Weird! Often said when there's a strange coincidence!

Worldly, not relating to religion

A dead body that has been brought back to life

The trait of being willing to give in to someone or something

becoming aware of something; or something becoming real


  • Comment number 1.

    Hello Sean!
    It’s been nice to have you as the guest Teacher for October here! What a pity you’ve only written four posts! I understand you’ve been busy. Though your last post is very interesting as usual, I can’t say that the shots you’ve posted are very pleasant to look at. I myself am not into horror films, I don’t like gruesome masks and everything covered in blood, and so on. I understand though why people dress up like this for Helloween; I know the origin of this holiday and what it signifies. There are few young people in my environment who celebrate Helloween, they are students, and they are learning English along with the British culture at university. They go to a party on Helloween, they dress up for it, but I should say that their dressing is far more modest than those people on your pictures. Anyway, I wish you to have fun on the Helloween night. I hope to see you again either in the Teacher blog or in the Staff blog. I will be really looking forward to it.

    Best regards,
    Svetlana, Russia

  • Comment number 2.

    Hello Sean,
    I've enjoyed very much having you as a teacher and learning a bit more about the english culture, Henry VIII and his wives, your trip to Egipt, Halloween
    I think your contribution to our english it is a real treat
    All the best


  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Sean , Wow I haven't heard aboutZombies procession before , I thought there are some Halloween Parties and I had heard about children trick and treats . Stunning brilliant spooky Shots !
    I 'm thinking have you organized all your entries in such a way or it happened coincidently ;)
    I 'm so thankful for being our guest teacher last month , it was my pleasure to know such an active person like you , your all blogs were brilliant , informative and spooky !
    Hope to read more from your side in near future , please don't forgot your fans !
    Pary from Iran

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi Sean, I'm lurking after watching so many spooky pics. However, the post is a real treat for us as I haven't heard about 'Trick or Treat' before. It's funny that you'd be well advised to do treat otherwise you may get a trick. Have you ever get tricked by the kids?
    Have a great winter season!!

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi Sean,

    It's interesting to look at these pictures about 'trick or treating' and zoombies procession. I've already seen it in some American movies on TV but in my country there isn't this tradition.
    We celebrate the All Saint's Day and here the tradition's that the people going to the cemetery to light candels for their dead loves.
    Thanks for the photos about Brighton but my favourite's the last one without zoombies :).

    All the best,
    Ditta, Hungary

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Sean,

    It was interesting to read about 'trick or treating' and the zoombies procession. I've already seen it in some American movies but in my country there isn't this tradition.
    We celebrate the All Saint's Day so here the tradition's that the people going to the cemetary to light candels for their dead loves.
    Thanks for the photos about Brighton but my favourite's the last one without zoombies :).

    All The best,
    Ditta, Hungary

  • Comment number 7.

    Sorry about the duplication!

  • Comment number 8.

    hi all how are you ,,,,???


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