Halloween: 6 tips for the uninitiated
Now that bare toes are a thing of the distant past, it’s time to look forward to autumn. Ah, autumn – the light is low, there’s an excuse to wear cashmere, and the leaves are crunchy underfoot. And of course, there’s Halloween.
Halloween is an interesting holiday. It’s big deal in Ireland where I grew up, and an even bigger one in America. An eyebrow or two were raised when I lived in London and professed a love of Halloween in all its tacky, dressing-up splendour, but from what I can see, it’s catching on. And quite right too.
Now, if you are truly patriotic, you would probably rubbish Halloween and stick to Bonfire Night, but then you would miss out on witches’ hats, false teeth, bobbing for apples, barmbrack and a lot of sweets. In fact, you may still be eating sweets come Thanksgiving.
You can buy fake cobwebs, blood and tombstones everywhere now – even Marks & Spencers do a mean line in plastic axes. This year Halloween falls on a Friday. That means you’ve got all weekend to recover from your apple bobbing excesses. Good luck.
Here’s 6 tips for the initiated…
- Start making your costume early. There may be a run on the orange pumpkin-coloured taffeta. Failing that, cut a hole in a black plastic sack, stick it over your head, and decorate with tinfoil stars
- Save the really scary gear for the grown-ups. Four year olds tend to find anyone wearing a mask downright freaky. They have a point.
- Avoid saying “Trick or Treat” at all times. Unless you’re American. Or genuinely want your house covered in eggs and flour. “Happy Halloween” works fine.
- Decorate your own front door with a luminous skeleton, dress up as a ghoul, and have plenty of sweets on hand. It’s best to have a large bowl at the front door and a lot of refills. If you’re a dentist, hand out apples. But it won’t make you popular.
- You’ll have children knocking on your door from about 5.30pm onwards – before it gets dark is usually the rule of thumb.
- Get knocking too. Pick a street with lots of decorated doors and bring your sweet receptacle. Even if they don’t have sweets, it’s a great way to meet your neighbours. Especially if you’ve dressed up too. Ah, Mrs B, what a lovely warty nose you have…