Gill Temple
Why such fascination of Halloween in Gibraltar? - Gill on Gib

There are many things that I don’t understand. One of those things being the fascination of Halloween in Gibraltar. It really is a big thing. In America they have their family trick or treat parties where the whole community gets involved out on the streets, and it has been so for many years. In Britain it is a half hearted effort, which the churches are trying to ignore or some actively discourage. 

Halloween is after all a pagan festival. The night of the dead. Ghosts and witches, spells and black magic. So why would it be so popular in one of the most religious nations in Europe? I’m bemused.

This time of year , there are plenty of other festivals to get the kids involved with that doesn’t involve annoying the neighbours and causing alarm to the elderly or vulnerable. Guy Fawkes, on the fifth of November, Harvest festivals, and even the Hindu light festival. It certainly isn’t a British thing, although small pockets of children might dress up and visit a neighbour, it is nothing like Gibraltar’s obsession.

It wasn’t until I was told that the Spanish make such a big deal out of it, that the light bulb clicked on in my head. Maybe there is a traditional need to celebrate, but not the same as the Spanish version, therefore to adopt the American version seems logical? I don’t know what the motive behind the tradition is, but I am continuingly surprised by the way that it is taken so seriously here.


It isn’t just the amount of money spent of fabulous costumes but all the preparation weeks beforehand. There seems to be parents trying to book parties for their children weeks in advance for this one night. I know I seem like a killjoy questioning the fun these children are having, but I do question the ethos behind such a party. Should we parents, as a community tell children to scare each other. That scaring is fun. Should we be telling children that there are monsters and ghouls and all things negative and bad, introducing them to the occult at such a young age, through play and parties?

When the Police have to issue advisory warnings to parents to check what their children are buying, including eggs to arm themselves against people that don’t “pay up” what kind of a message are we sending out to these kids. The Police know it’s wrong. We as parents know it’s wrong. The churches know it is wrong, yet no one wants to point out the obvious, in case we are seen as petty killjoys ruining the children’s fun.

The argument against my point of view will always be, that it does no harm. Children have been doing it for years and it hasn’t caused a problem. My answer to that is simple: Yes it has.


How many grown adults are terrified of spiders, those tiny of tiny insects? Yet they aren’t scared of ants. How many complaints do the police get from concerned residents that are being hounded, scared, or assaulted by children given permission to do so for one night of the year? It is enough for the Royal Gibraltar Police to write asking parents to police their own children. How many children get bullied in school, or grown ups bullied in the work place? Because that is what Halloween amounts to, bullying. Permission to bully for one night only.

That one night is made to be fun. To even dress up so no one recognises you, whilst you do the naughty things that wouldn’t be allowed under any other circumstance. All the tiny symbols , messages and elements are there, for a child’s brain to pick up on.

Is your child having bad dreams? Does your child wet the bed, or think monsters live under it? Who do you think put that concept into a child’s head? A lurking monster exists because every year that image is endorsed. With fake blood and gore, axes and stitches, we endorse this violence to children as young as two as the norm, yet won’t allow them to watch a horror film or even the news.

I am so against Halloween and what it has become. A killjoy that’s for sure. Each nation has its traditions and some do adopt others from other countries, but Gibraltar has that advantage of being able to decide its destiny, how it wants the next generation to behave, unlike other countries where free will of the masses just sees an excuse for a party, without thinking what they are doing. Gibraltar can have a debate, decide as a community which direction it wants to go.

It might be that I am totally wrong and should butt out as no damage to children is being done. Or it might be that Halloween will lose its appeal and another celebration is recognised. Same knees up party fun, different theme.