John Davies is a senior corporate partner at leading commercial law firm Thrings. As a TBE columnist, John regularly addresses a topical news or business-related issue. This time John is spooked…
So, the clocks have gone back, the mercury in the thermometer is retracting like the head of a agitated tortoise, and the tiles on my kitchen floor are as cold as a snowman’s nethers. Welcome to winter.
I actually love the onset of our colder months but there’s something which is bothering me. And the only way I can deal with it is by dragging you down into my frost-covered garden of annoyance.
If I owned a goat, there is one issue in particular which would have ‘got’ it by now.
I love a carved pumpkin as much as the next man, but the rest of it is simply hell. In short – and I suspect I’m going to upset a sackful of people over this – Halloween gets on my nerves.
When I was a youngster (many many moons ago) Halloween was all about carving your pumpkin into a lantern and struggling to light it on a cold and damp October evening. If you were lucky, you might have a crack at apple bobbing (having first removed your spectacles) and even have a few spooky stories read to you by your parents. In school, children would make up ghoulish ghost stories in an attempt to frighten each other and maybe themselves. It was a fairly gentle bit of fun wrapped around All Hallows’ Eve – not too much fuss and very little bother.
Roll on 35 years and the world, or the UK at least, appears to have gone mad. Our supermarkets are packed to the rafters with plastic tat – masks, wigs, tridents, horns – so much so that Sir David Attenborough should be encouraged to make a documentary about it (how about ‘Orange Planet’?) Children are encouraged by advertisers and the media to buy costumes, toys and other disposable trinkets. And parents are put under pressure to comply, spending good money on cheap outfits and bucketloads of sweets.
Then there’s the evening itself. Hoards of miniature monsters knocking at the door, expecting chocolate and confectionary to be handed out willy-nilly. It’s not so much the very little ones (although they are included in this rant) but the older kids, often teenagers, some of whom even ask for money.
Come on, surely it isn’t just me that gets annoyed by this monsterly misery? How is it right that in order to get through the night, an old curmudgeon like me has to sit at home in the dark with the curtains drawn, the TV on silent and a sock in the dog’s mouth for fear of a bark breaking my cover?
I blame our American cousins for this. By some kind of underworldly osmosis we’ve picked up the doom that is now Halloween and run with it. Tat reigns and teeth rot. Count Dracula, the Werewolf, the Mummy and Frankenstein can all check into Hotel Transylvania and stay there. Just leave the rest of us in peace.
Somehow I’ve managed to survive Halloween this year, but I suspect that after this little rant my car will be covered in eggs and flour in 2019. But it had to be said and I feel better for it. And for those who don’t agree with my sentiments, please send your complaints to Mr F Kruger, Elm Street, Madstop, USA.
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