A Hallowhine

It's that spooky time of year, where the leaves are changing and everything is a little bit colder and eerier. Not least because the clocks went back this weekend and we are treated to dusk setting in at nearly 4pm. The atmosphere must suggest that it’s time again for the merchandising clusterfuck that is Halloween.

Now I'm probably going to be universally derided as a killjoy for not liking Halloween, which is on the surface a quite innocuous event (unless you are flour bombed), but I just don’t like it. Surprisingly I might not be the silent fist shaking minority I originally thought I was, as I’ve actually been quite pleased by the amount of commentators on the radio and TV who seem to agree with me; implying that maybe I’m not mad but that society is.

I don't know what it is about it that riles me so much? Whether it's the fact I hate dressing up because of this costume-party-friendly time, or if it's that I just don’t like the idea of being forced to buy sweets so that little costumed pests - who will inevitably be lauded as ‘adorable’ by people who’s souls aren’t so shriveled up and bitter - can extort me on my doorstep. There seems something wrong about congratulating these precocious bell ends in pathetic costumes, whether they are making threats or not. Personally I’m all for getting into the spirit of the holiday and just scaring them off by pretending to be insane. It’s amazing what a bit of talking to yourself and swinging a cricket bat around whilst screaming will do.

The costume parties are a particular gripe for me, especially after thinking I’d escaped all of that after leaving the costume party fest that is university. Costume parties are awkward exercises at the best of times, where if lacking a particularly flamboyant character you can feel very alone and confuddled by the confident and strutting masses around you that are showing off how their outrageous costumes/personalities are. Then there is the time that goes into making these costumes, normally for little payoff except for a slight feeling of inadequacy and the discomfort of wearing makeup; that’s not even mentioning the stress an elaborate costume can cause if it prevents you from sitting down for fear of ripping the damn thing.

Maybe it's just that this holiday (well I say that but we don’t get any time off work) is an American export that we have adopted so that card shops can prop up their takings by flogging us plastic masks and devil horns galore. This is a simple case of supply and demand and it is unsurprising that Halloween it’s now more profitable for shops than Valentine’s Day. Yes indeed, rampant commercialism has created a monster out of Halloween that is for sure.

Overall I think that Halloween is a pretty shallow holiday. It’s a chance for the flagging high street shops to try and get us to reach into our wallets and pay for more disposable pap than we normally would at this time of year. Oh, and so that people can excuse some heavy drinking.

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