Come Halloween, a typical American street will be filled with a 30ft monster, an inflatable pumpkin big enough to feed a family of four for a week or even a ghost train taken from a real life theme park. This year Americans will spend $5.8bn (£3.6bn) on Halloween, according to the National Retail Federation. But here in Cheltenham, traditions are not quite the same.
With clown sightings and even the banning of masks along Gloucester’s ‘Zombie walk’, will this be the end to Halloween celebrations for the town?
On Facebook the organisers of the walk said: “Due to recent events around the country we are operating a “NO CLOWN OUTFITS – IT’S BAD TASTE!” The walk will take place on Southgate Street on Saturday, October 29, at 3pm. “A certain few have spoiled it for all the real clowns out there so please find something more creative to adorn yourselves with and lets all have a gore-geous time.”
Clubs in the town are taking the recent incidents very seriously.
Liam Dunn, Manager of Under The Prom, a Cheltenham night club who said, “It’s a shame that it had to come to this, but with the whole killer clown hysteria anyone who turns up will be asked to remove their masks, whether it is a clown or not. We are responsible of making everyone in our club feel safe. Its not seen as a joke anymore.”
“Nothing is being taken on a personal level but we need to see faces if any incidents occur for CCTV purposes. It’s not a risk that we are willing to take. By doing this its going to make everyone in our club feel safe.”
Gloucestershire police have released posters for home owners to display to allow them to not be disturbed during the evening by trick or treaters.
With crimes rising around the Halloween period and safety procedures becoming more drastic each year for small towns like Cheltenham, where does this leave the fate of Halloween in 2020? Will it be completely banished in an effort to reduce crime rate? Or will we see this American holiday tradition return to its original purpose. Have your predictions on our twitter poll here:
POLL: Do you think Britain is slowly killing off Halloween? #halloween
— The Hive (@TheHiveGlos) October 27, 2016