Halloween is coming. Again. I wrote something about Halloween last year (do take a look) and in case you are utterly incapable of sensing the tone of this blog it should come as no surprise that I do not like Halloween. Unless plans change next week ‘the wife’ will be out on Halloween night which leaves me to fend for myself in our little straw fortress. The plan is firstly to spend as long as humanly possible at the gym (which realistically is 90 minutes absolute maximum, especially as I don’t have any gym friends with whom to chat for 15 minutes between each lunge/bench press/chat with another gym friend; there are a few people in my gym that I can honestly say I have never seen do any exercise, and yet are still boundlessly fitter than me). I shall then return home, switch off the lights and retreat to the loft and do whatever can be measured as entertainment up there instead. So basically write, read, listen to music or bite my finger nails in terror as I begin to imagine a clutch of sadistic 7 year old scamps scaling the walls of the house, their blood lust only appeased with the equivalent value in snack size Mars Bars and super sour Haribo mix.
Alternatively I could dress as a mysterious, super-charged, steroid taking, 7 year old Dracula and wander the streets anonymously, on my own, until all the fuss has died down though this risks a distinct possibility of being literally unmasked and identified (falsely, I should add) as some kind of neighbourhood pest. Which would not be the best thing to happen. And the stupid thing about all this is that I didn’t choose to have Halloween. I didn’t come up with the idea so why should I feel compelled to join in. I don’t even like the film Halloween, despite Jamie Lee Curtis being in it. I don’t like fancy dress. I don’t like masks and daft plastic costumes that make you sweat. I don’t like horror films unless they’re ‘smart’ horror films like ‘The Shining’, and I hate horror gore. I don’t like fake cobwebs and Halloween themed cakes. I don’t like plastic spiders and rubber bats and gobstoppers made to look like eyeballs (the last should be made to look like testicles to deter kids but, as above, that would not work out as well in practice as it doesn’t already on paper). I don’t mind ‘Thriller’ by Michael Jackson but I hate ‘Billie Jean’ and that always gets lumped in at the same time. Please don’t get me started on ‘The Monster Mash’. Furthermore I’m not keen on America at the moment and they invented Halloween as a commercial concept so ultimately there’s very little to cheer about.
Except…….I’m moaning too much. There must be something good about it, surely. Well, it marks an interesting time of year; where the clocks have just gone back and darkness is all around, but there’s something quite comforting about that. We can stop worrying about the cold and the dark and the rain and the frozen cars in the morning and whether we’d freeze to death if we were pensioners and the exorbitant heating bills that will add before we become pensioners, and just get on with it. In short it’s a good time to embrace the changing of the seasons, to cuddle up on the sofa and put the fire on. To make hot toddies instead of G’n’Ts. To watch the leaves drop and form a deadly road side mulch. To see the street lights on before you get home from work. To know that there’s now no chance of sitting outside for lunch, and that’s ok. And of course it’s time to look forward to better things like the bit just before Christmas and the bit just after Christmas and then ultimately, actually solely, the sun putting his/her (science still hasn’t solved that one) hat on again knowing that to truly enjoy the light and the warmth you must endure the other side too.
And finally, provided you don’t live in a place where the main form of evening entertainment is setting cars on fire then throwing stones and bottles of urine at the fire engine when it arrives, Halloween is actually a rare example of that thing call community. Where neighbours say hello to neighbours and ask how they are. Where someone knocks on your door in the evening that isn’t a Jehovah’s Witness, a double glazing salesman or a recently paroled felon with a dubious identity badge selling chamois leathers and dish cloths. Where adults connect, briefly, with the children of their street in a positive manner. Yes it may involve buying bags of sugary rubbish but at least I don’t have any to deal with going mental at home afterwards and it beats endless episodes of ‘throwing the ball back’ or ‘listening to the screaming’.
There, Halloween! Hurrah, the event that brings us together in love and chocolate and fear. I’m still going up to the loft though.
G B Hewitt. 26.10.2016