A Wycombe Halloween in 1952…

If you thought dressing up for Halloween was just a modern tradition, think again!

The members of the HW and District Caledonian Society knew just how to put the spook into All Hallow’s Eve back in 1952.

We’ve dug up some great photos from the Bucks Free Press archive of the society’s Halloween party, held that year in the Civic Restaurant on St Mary Street.

halloween high wycombe
Via SWOP, Bucks Free Press, BFP: 64019

Witches and warlocks, pirates and cowboys, Little Bo Peep and Wee Willie Winkie all make an appearance — as well as plenty of tartan (it is the Caledonian Society, after all!).

halloween high wycombe
Via SWOP, Bucks Free Press, BFP: 64009

And some of those creepy Halloween activities that we all still loved today were firmly part of the tradition back in 1952. Watch out for the pumpkins and apple bobbing!

Of course, Halloween dates far past 1952 and can actually be traced all the way back 2,000 years ago to the ancient Celts’ Samhain festival, where participants used to dress up in costumes in order to repel the ghosts of the dead which returned to earth for one night only — sound familiar?

high wycombe caledonian society
Via SWOP, Bucks Free Press, BFP: 64012

The traditions of the Samhein festival began to gain ground in the Christian church in the 9th Century when Pope Gregory III declared 1st of November to be All Saints Day (sometimes called All Hallow’s Day) — a day to celebrate saints and martyrs. The 2nd of November was dubbed All Soul’s Day and mimicked the festivities of Samhein as a day to celebrate the dead.

halloween 1952 high wycombe
Via SWOP, Bucks Free Press, BFP: 64015

Eventually, the Samhein-esque activities were moved to the 31st of October — All Hallow’s Eve, which finally became known as Halloween.

Halloween as we know it, with its fancy dress costumes, trick-or-treating and lack of religiosity, is very much an American import — although the only reason that it spread around America in the first place is thanks to the English and Irish immigrants that moved there and brought their traditions with them.

high wycombe halloween
Via SWOP, Bucks Free Press, BFP: 64017

It looks as though these Americanised traditions were very much in place by the 31st of October 1952, at least if these photos of the HW and District Caledonian Society’s party are anything to go by!

high wycombe halloween
Via SWOP, Bucks Free Press, P: 64007
high wycombe halloween
Via SWOP, Bucks Free Press, P: 64008
high wycombe halloween
Via SWOP, Bucks Free Press, P: 64016
high wycombe halloween
Via SWOP, Bucks Free Press, P: 64018

Do you recognise any of your relatives in the photos?