Things that I think and do
I don’t get annoyed about too many things in life – with the exception of tardiness, food clogging up the sink, the extortionate price of a cinema ticket and pretty much anything that comes out of Piers Morgan’s mouth.
My main exception, however, is Halloween. I’m sorry, but I hate Halloween.
I simply do not see the appeal, or the point, of spending one night each year slathering red goo over various parts of your body and covering your face in make-up of varying shades of yellow and green.
Every year I’m resigned to the fact that the last two weeks of October will be full of adverts for cheap family packs of chocolate to accommodate the temporary social acceptance of children begging for sweets. It’s suddenly OK to spread fake cobwebs and little plastic spiders over every available window in a feeble attempt to frighten visitors, and Halloween is the only time that anyone voluntarily watches vampire or horror films.
There are several reasons for my intense dislike of this stupid, pointless “holiday” (it’s not even a holiday, for God’s sake). I personally don’t like horror films and find anything remotely jumpy too risky to watch, so I suppose on a basic level I just resent the association with scary films.
I also have an aversion to the commercialisation of Halloween – or, if I was being harsh, its Americanisation. The speediest internet search will tell you that Halloween derives from a religious (most likely pagan and Celtic) festival during which the idea is to remember the deceased, the saints and martyrs and the faithful departed believers.
So why on earth is there a sudden obsession with fake vampire fangs and trailing toilet paper everywhere in an attempt to dress up as a mummy? Dressing up as a dead Egyptian is a strange way to remember the deceased. Maybe we should remember Margaret Thatcher’s death by wearing power suits along with a large wig, and shouting at miners.
Yes, I know that Christmas is much the same in the sense that it’s a religious event that has been hugely commercialised. But at least the core message is still incarnate in Christmas carols, church services and, maybe to a lesser extent these days, the Nativity play. And anyway, it’s also a time for family, jollity and general making of merry.
If I had a mortgage, I would bet it that you could easily get through the two weeks up to Halloween without a single radio or TV broadcast about the religious aspect of the whole thing.
That isn’t even my main objection to Hallow-bloody-een though, although I’m struggling to put that into words. It’s just the whole hyperbolic, over-excited thing, with the sudden bizarre fascination with anything vaguely ‘spooky’. I sometimes think Halloween only exists to provide a distraction from the otherwise uneventful period between summer and Christmas.
At university it just seems to be another themed night. I’m the last person to say that folk shouldn’t party if they want to, and I’m not even particularly anti-costume – although I generally find them cumbersome and irritating after the first five minutes.
Yet come October 31, people dust off their Frankenstein masks (a character absolutely nothing to do with Halloween, incidentally), their witches’ hats and their year-old congealed tubes of fake blood and spend the night doing what they’d do on any other week night, except with the added inconvenience of a costume and everyone deliberately looking terrible.
In the end a lot of people like Halloween though, and my ranting about it isn’t going to change that. I say that if you want to waste your money buying a full Death costume (complete with scythe) and spend your night being trodden on by blood-covered doctors and having beer spilled down your vampire cape, go for it.
I’ll be at home trying to find a TV programme that doesn’t involve anything horror-themed and throwing eggs at any children in their stupid costumes who come to the door asking for a pack of jelly beans.