It’s Halloween tomoz! Spelled Hallowe’en if you’re going to get all proper about it. Or “All Hallows Eve” if you’re going to get all 16th Century on my ass. It is one of those (many) things in life that I don’t generally bother getting involved in, as there are more important things to be doing, like counting the cobwebs on the ceiling, or seeing if I can eat a whole bag of Hula Hoops without licking my fingers.
Halloween is an occasion tailor-made for extroverted people, and egg-flinging assholes. I am neither of these. So needless to say, when it came to the notion of trick or treating as a child, I was about as likely to go out at night dressed as a bumble bee and basically threaten people on their own doorstep, as I was going to give up eating sponge cake for breakfast. Instead- naturally- you were going to find me crouching on the sofa, trying to watch Blue Peter with a throw cushion over my head, hoping the loathsome, sticky-palmed brats extorting fun-size Milky Ways off my parents at the door wouldn’t spot me through the net curtains, and laugh.
Apart from scaring old people to within an inch of having a stroke, trick or treating involves fancy dress. When it comes to fancy dress, I can safely declare that it has never been my fave thing in life. In fact, when anybody mentions the very prospect, the bottom drops out of my stomach, and for at least a minute I seriously consider the idea of booking a holiday in space with Virgin Galactic that ‘regrettably’ coincides with the day of the party, just so I have a valid excuse not to go out in suburbia dressed as a ’sexy dead nurse’. Life is full enough of face-burningly cringey ordeals without adding to the mix the wearing of, say, a prosthetic witch’s nose. Fancy dress is a more uncomfortable scenario to be in than if your surname was ‘Shufflebottom’, and someone has just asked you what your surname is. It makes me feel even more out of place than if I had walked into a pub in a dubious part of town (spoilt for choice in Burton-on-Trent) and into a room full of hard-as-nails, wizened old men downing pints of ‘real ale’ and discussing the story behind each of their missing teeth.
Instead, Halloween was always a gentle affair in my household, involving the carving of a pumpkin, followed by sitting with the living room lights off, in appreciation of its homely glow, followed the next day by my mother making some sort of lunch for my dad out of its remains - an ideal trampled all over a few years later by my brother when he disposed of his used pumpkin by lobbing it from the upstairs window of his student house and letting it smash onto some concrete, all captured on a grainy video - not unlike amateur footage of a war execution- entitled “PUMPKIN BYE BYE”.
Despite all, at the time of this going to press I am actually planning on attending a Halloween party. However, as I refuse to be photographed dressed as a 118 man I am going to wear what I know best- my bestest frock, my biggest hair, and a look of anguish.