Firstly, apologies to commenters – I have been on something of a hiatus and have yet to plough through the backlog.
Now, I get quite annoyed with the anti-Halloween brigade, and have done my own informal research into its origins. Sure, it’s very commercial and OTT these days, but just about everything we do has older historical roots than many seem to think; and not just in the USA. The American form of Halloween traces back to (mainly) Irish settlers, so it’s a slightly different flavour of festival than was being observed in much of England, where some practices lapsed, and others moved sideways into the more politicised Guy Fawkes’ Night. So in a way, I like to think the the US has helped us to reclaim the occasion (though bonfires will I suspect always remain associated with the 5th November rather than the 31st October. Anyway, enough of me – here is the superb Ronald Hutton explaining things far better than I ever could, followed by some wonderful *British* vintage Halloween photos from UsvsThem.