As Halloween approaches soon, my recent tour of London revealed it to be an ideal place to witness the masquerade revelry and ghostly ghoulishness of this popular holiday. Without question, the oldness of London reeked authenticity, where the adventurous traveler could easily retrace dark and dismal remnants of olden times. In contrast, a modern viewpoint of London Halloween portrayed a spectacular show of pop culture inviting a carnival of sinfully goblin pleasures for sure. Four vivid examples immediately come to mind.
Let me begin with the famous Tower Bridge of London, whose twin towers hover prominently over the Thames River leading to the infamous Tower of London. At night, a quick glance at this iconic landmark symbolized the eerie path to the infamous dungeon with its suggested backdrop of tortured prisoners within its imposing, medieval walls. Since its construction in the late 19th century, several incidents have also occurred where mysterious drawbridge openings occurred at strangely inopportune times More recently, President Clinton’s motorcade arrived at midpoint of the bridge span in 1997 as it dangerously rose, threatening the safety of several vehicles along his motorcade.
In deep underground London lie the famous “Tubes” that provide efficient transportation for London travelers daily. Yet my experience of this aging tunnel system on this visit depicted a maze of meandering passages that confuse the mind of distance and direction. Feeling trapped like a rat at times, a nightmarish vision set in that there might be no way to exit in case of emergency. Speaking of rats, I have sighted several of the alleged half a million pesky rodents lurking as if awaiting the next tube to arrive.
Murder mysteries seem to be an appropriate theme for scary Halloween in London. In my case, a short visit to the Jack the Ripper Museum revealed a sad time in London when a deranged man created mass outrage in the city by murdering eight, innocent women in cold blood. A sizable collection of gruesome artifacts from the crime scene displayed there provides ample evidence of the grotesque nature of these crimes.
For a more contemporary vision of Halloween in London, our visit to Camden in North London would certainly suffice. Along main shopping streets, brash displays of bohemian coolness and gothic darkness tantalized my senses as the weird excesses of impulse buying for exotic body piercings and illicit drug sales there seems impressively evident. What a perfect place to protest the blandness of everyday routine in such a spectacular fashion!
Why not put on a costume of my dreams now? In fact, with “Comic
Con”, taking place in London during our visit, this convention seemed to incite an ideal motivation to celebrate Halloween in such disguised fashion during this visit. With one day left until the ghosts and goblins arrive, I think that I will settle for reading a scary story or two in a comfortable bed on this long and arduous journey. I could use some sleep.
Great Halloween post from London, James. Thanks for letting us enjoy your trip vicariously.