It’s about this time of year that people start to notice (and moan, in my case) the creep of Christmas-ness in shops. September and October are far too early for this, but I get why the retailers do it. They’re no fools. So, this is no surprise. But what I’ve also noticed is that the introduction of Hallowe’en has started a hell of a lot earlier than ever before. The night itself was only yesterday but it’s been in our lives for at least 2-3 weeks leading up to that. It was probably the same last year but I feel like I’m noticing it much more this year. In the weeks leading up to it, there was dress-up at my daughter’s school, we bought outfits, we went pumpkin-picking (if everybody donated a pound for every pumpkin-picking photo they post on Facebook, some charities would be very, very pleased), we made decorations, scary movies started playing on a loop on TV, and some peculiar folk even started setting off fireworks.
I do like Hallowe’en, but in an old-fashioned, nostalgic way. I remember doing ‘trick or treating’ when there was a genuine risk you may be tricked and you may not actually come away with treats. I remember innocent costumes that you made yourself (or your parents helped you). I know we still have witch and skeleton costumes but there are some really disturbing costumes around now. Not just macabre, but full-on disturbing. When did it go from spooky fun to sinister fun?
We took the kids out ‘trick or treating’ in the neighbourhood for the evening itself. I love the fact that an estate of houses can be transformed from a place where you may speak only to your immediate neighbours during the day and that might be just to say hello, to one where it seems a foggy mist has descended and you’re all on some sort of strange film set. Everybody is walking around dressed up. You’re all talking to people you don’t know; everybody is very nice. Pumpkins are glowing and there is an air of non-routine, ‘something different’ about the evening. I realise that marking Hallowe’en isn’t for everybody and we made sure the kids only went to houses that had pumpkins lit and decorations outside We didn’t bother anybody else.
In the cold light of day this morning, the neighbourhood was back to normal. The mist had lifted. Strangers were strangers again. The only clue to last night was the sweet wrappers on the floor and the odd smattering of fake cob webs. Hallowe’en over for another year (or at least for 9 and a half months anyway).
Next stop – Bonfire Night…..