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Get ready to be spooked this Halloween

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picture: Alasdair Acott
picture: Alasdair Acott

Halloween is creeping up on us. Ghosts and ghouls will be out on Friday.

Samantha Payne takes a look at the tradition and tracks down the spookiest places in Kent.

The Celts would be pleased - 2000 years on and we still continue to celebrate the tradition of Halloween.

Back then it was known as Samhain , the Celtic word for summer’s end – a time when folks believed ghosts of the dead returned to the earth on the night of October 31.

Watch the video to see spooky goings on at the Museum of Kent Life >>>

That belief is still going strong today, as the people of Pluckley, a small village near Ashford, well know.

Every year they tremble with fear as scores of people come to the area to catch a glimpse of the paranormal.

The village is reputedly known as the most haunted place in England.

A warning published on Pluckley Parish Council website reads: “Unless you are coming for a quiet drink, may we suggest you visit one of the many other attractions in Kent for Halloween.”

It continues: “Please note that the majority of sites are private residences and the owners do not welcome ghost hunters."

Such is the worry of the parish council that it has already asked for security guards and for Kent Police to be present in the area on October 31.

Listen to Jackie Grebby, the council’s clerk, explaining more >>>

Council clerk Jackie Grebby said:“The police will be making sure that everything is kept safe for all residents because they are scared at the numbers of people that come down to the village."

“They are in their thousands at times. It’s a little village and we have got nowhere for anyone to park, which is why we have gone back to actively discouraging people from visiting Pluckley at Halloween."

The origins of Halloween

• In 834 Allhallowmass was established. There was a celebration on the evening before - October 31st - called Hallow E’en, meaning all of the hallowed ones.

• Trick-or-treating originates from the All Souls’ Day parades in England, when the poor would beg for food and families would give them pastries called soul cakes in exchange for their promise to pray for the family’s dead relatives.

• Dressing up on Halloween comes from when people used to wear masks hundreds of years ago to avoid them being recognized by ghosts. It was hoped the ghosts would believe they were fellow spirits.

Events in Kent this Halloween

Ghost Fest at The Canterbury Tales Visitor Attraction

27 October to November 2

Paranormal investigator Mark Turner, one of the most successful paranormal investigation teams in the UK, sets out to reveal the dark secrets that lie within the former parish church of St Margaret’s, home to the successful Canterbury Tales visitor attraction. Are you brave enough to join them? Visit www.canterburytales.org.uk

The Haunted Castle, Dover Castle, Dover

25 October - 31 October 2008

Adults can join a ghost walk through the castle and grounds to discover more about the bloodcurdling myths and legends. Visit www.english-heritage.org.uk

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