When I first realised that I’d accidentally booked to go home for Halloween I was gutted. It’s my last year as a student in Leeds, and I’ve been fostering grand plans about magnificent house parties since last June. Someone somewhere in Leeds must be having a huge, dedicated Halloween party like they do in the States. Decorations, games, themed nibbles, amazing costumes; the whole hog. I’d already set out costume blueprints for how I would top last year’s effort of Slutty Stalin (moustache, suspenders, questionable good taste and you’re there.)
And then my sister pointed out that I’d got my dates mixed up and I’d be spending Halloween at home with my family and none of my friends in a town where every single person will go to Whetherspoons dressed as a “zombie school kid”. That’s not a costume. That’s just your actual school uniform. Demonstrably you’re too young to get served. Stop it.
My costumes are overwhelmingly based on taking something and doing a slutty version of it, so my ideas so far consisted of Dr. Alan Grant off Jurassic Park but in stockings and heels, a sexy interpretation of the Spider Head from John Carpenter’s The Thing, and “Michael Portillo: Dominatrix”. None of these would go down well in front of my Dad, and what would be the point if I’m not even going out? Halloween was ruined.
But then I realised that, however witty and subversive I think my costumes are, people rarely get it. Actually, more often than not, everyone’s just a bit weirded out. And then when I came to think of it, Halloween never really goes as well as I want it to. In fact, Halloween is generally a bit shit.
Brits just don’t have the dedication, enthusiasm and access to realistic imitations of severed limbs that they have in America. Also, as far as I’m aware, it’s written into the Constitution that you have to be gratuitously celebrating something at all times or the Indians will reclaim your homestead or something.
That combined with the fact that all the Halloween activities I romanticise are deeply problematic in reality. Trick or Treating is just disturbing the homes of your neighbours, demanding sweets while doing literally nothing to deserve it. Apple-bobbing? It’s a bucket of other peoples’ snot and spit and you’re eating food out of it. I like pumpkins, pumpkins are relatively inoffensive. But the second an inanimate object has a face I fall in love with it, and experience a terrible melancholia when it inevitably rots and gets thrown away.
So maybe home will actually be the perfect place for me this Halloween. My Dad will be audibly and hilariously rude about the neighbourhood children and their parents as they come to the door. We’ll force my Mum to dress up like a bed sheet ghost and laugh at her as she struggles to manoeuvre around the house. My Sister and I will watch horror films and then not be able to go to sleep because we’re both inconceivably cowardly and have overactive imaginations (there is a murderer in the toilet and if I wee alone it will cut my head off.) It will be lame, for sure. But at least this way I might be able to convince my Mum to make me a pumpkin pie while I enviously scroll through Instagram.