Having moved into a first floor apartment safely protected by electric security gates of Downing Street proportions, I managed to escape the dreaded trick-or-treaters this year. It comes to something when you have to resort to the full bells and whistles of Neighbourhood Watch to avoid the wet sponges and water pistols of these perishers. I’m not parting with my bag of boiled sweets for anyone, and I certainly wouldn’t give them my last Rolo.
I know people who hurry home early on the day to prepare trays of goody bags for the little dears. But I’ve always hated Halloween. To me it’s an imported, nay imposed, American phenomenon masquerading as a tradition. We have a perfectly good tradition of our own at this time of year in the form of Mr Fawkes, and bizarre though it is to burn a human effigy whilst consuming half-cooked potatoes and incinerated sausages, at least it’s a tradition based on a modicum of historical fact.
Halloween on the other hand is based on the completely made up fantasies of plastic novelty manufacturers and the purveyors of pumpkins and aerosol cobwebs. As our agent in Japan said to me a few years ago, beaming as if a wonderful new era had opened up before her, ‘We got Halloween now!’ And lo, all Japanese teenagers were suddenly sporting fake zombie scars, Frankenstein neck-bolts and purple nylon witches’ hats. Though some got it wrong and were dressed as Pudseys. A bit like that Tokyo department store that got Christmas and Easter mixed up and displayed a life-size Santa on a cross in its window.
And why, one might ask, is the official hue of Halloween the same queasy orange as the corporate colours of EasyJet? I’ve never flown with that airline in late October but one wouldn’t be surprised if the crew members, already blessed with an over-sufficiency of ghastly orange polyester, were tempted to don gimp masks and affect limps while demonstrating the safety procedures. Brenda the Attender haring down the aisle with a chainsaw instead of the drinks trolley. Now that would be frightening!
Actually, the best thing about Halloween is the obligatory letter in the local press from the mad vicar who thinks the annual desire of ten year olds to don plastic spiders and to black out their teeth (and occasionally to throw an egg or two) is a descent into idolatry and devil worship.
Get a grip, your reverence, the future’s bright. The future’s orange.