Halloween – fireworks, mulled wine and clowns

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 Once more Halloween falls on Barga Vecchia. As I write this I can hear a kind of firework war going on below Barga in the Parco Kennedy between two groups of "young adults" who seem intent on showing which group can make the loudest explosions. The dogs within hearing distance, and I think that could be a decent distance away from the city, all seem to be joining in the fun and games and barking for all they are worth. 

The original Halloween was for adults and was a pretty scary event all things considered. It was taken across the Atlantic to the the States by waves of immigrants where over the years it was transformed into a more commercially minded, child orientated kind of party and from there it was re-exported back to Europe in its mutated form.

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It is a relatively new phenomenon here in Italy and people have not yet really worked out just what is supposed to happen. They know that there is a good deal of dressing up to be done with masks and stuff and so what actually appears on the night  is a slightly "horrored" up version of carnival but in October and not February.

In Piazza Angelio the party is still going strong – a clown is giving out balloon swords to the assembled children who beat each other and anybody within striking distance until their weapons pop – then its back to the clown to re-arm and business as usual.   The air is filled with the intermingling smells of freshly baked cakes,  fried pasta and sweet fragrant heavy mulled red wine (courtesy of the Lake Angels) and of course the always present wood smoke from the fire in the middle of the piazza. 

Step back in time and have a wander through some of the archives of Halloween in Barga

Halloween 2004 | 2003 | 2001 | 1999

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Fantastic images of Halloween from the staff pap that reminded me of a simpler time when lanterns were made from hollowed out turnips and not the easy option (and less than indigenous to Scotland) pumpkins. The pumpkin as you all know is hollow with thin easy to cut skin unlike the mighty turnip which is a sort of genetically modified cannon ball which was described by my father Big Carlo as “enjoyed by Scotsmen whilst elswhere being fed to cattle”. The box of tools required to shape a lantern from a “neep” would be quite extensive, if your family were… Read more »


Wonderful written image Carlo, thanks.


La Poetry a davvero ragione, Carlo. And coming from the likes of her, Barga’s post-Pascoli poet laureate, that’s high praise.


And thank you Frank, I am honored.