It’s been a slow news week. My predecessor, Reece Parker, was too busy congratulating himself on the size of his skinny, hairless thighs to prepare me for the inevitable writer’s block which accompanies the Editor’s Letter circa Issue 3. But if there’s one thing Reece prepared me for, it’s pulling something out of nothing at the very last minute. This is the ‘Reece Parker Special’: Scoring a last-minute goal-mouth scramble, and then magnanimously claiming that you intended it from the start without even the subtlest hint of humility or irony.
And so, since this is the last issue which will appear before the 31st October, I’d like to take the time to offer you my thoughts on Halloween. Halloween is the Marmite of uni nights out. Some students will swear by it being the best night of the year; some would rather contract irreversible trench foot than attend one more pumpkin-themed Fruity. I happen to fall into the latter category. In my experience, the only thing spooky about Halloween is how it manages to be so consistently awful every single year, and why we still continue to celebrate it. If you don’t believe me, then here’s a rundown of the ordeals I’ve been put through every Halloween since moving to Leeds:
First year: After underestimating just how busy every venue was on Halloween, me and my housemates ended up in Old Bar for karaoke. Cue McFly’s seminal ‘Transylvania’. Legend has it that my rendition of the cult classic is the reason Old Bar underwent a full refurbishment in order to rid itself of the memory of some prepubescent Fresher singing “people marching to the drums” while his voice broke in more ways than you could shake a witch’s broomstick at. Nevertheless, my debut caught the eye of a talent scout who asked if I fancied modelling at a charity catwalk show. Asking her whether the Pope was Catholic, I quickly gave her my contact details. But this Femme Fatale never called, meaning that my ‘blue steel’ went back in the cupboard and my modelling career was over before it even began. Marks out of five: 1/5.
Second year: We decided to hold a house party. Well, I say we, it was more of a one-person initiative, which meant that I exited my room on the 31st October to the sight of 200+ non-mutual friends awkwardly dancing to a DJ whose repertoire seemed to consist solely of Tom Zanetti with a David Guetta twist©. What jeopardised the whole party, however, was the fact that we lived next door to our landlord, who was not a happy chappy. Retiring to my boudoir, I somehow managed to sleep through most of the antics, but was rudely awoken the next morning when the fuzz came round to issue us a noise complaint, and tell us that, if we ever did it again, they would confiscate all of our possessions. Marks out of five: 1/5.
Third year: Thoroughly disenchanted with the whole paganistic concept of Halloween, me and my housemates stayed inside and watched Nicolas Cage’s most enthralling performance to date: Vampire’s Kiss (1988). What should have been a simple evening of watching Cage recite the alphabet and talk to a building was interrupted, however, by our growing pest issue, as numerous mice began to colonise our living room. The next few hours involved mercilessly hunting mice with Pringle cans, with as much sweat and passion as Jason Voorhees, but with as little success as Sideshow Bob. The mice continued to multiply, and were soon in control of the entire house. Marks out of five: 1/5.
Fourth year: Despite having had three years to prepare me for the bastardry of Halloween, I still found myself naively answering the knock on the door which indicated the arrival of some local Trick or Treaters. Two children, dressed in what can only be described as the most uninspired and unoriginal Batman and Robin costumes I have ever seen, charged into my house and stole approximately 3,000 custard creams from the house biscuit tin. The feral children later returned and, when we refused to open the door, proceeded to pelt our house with eggs they’d probably stolen from some other unwitting household. We were terrorised by these kids for the next 10 months. Marks out of five: 1/5
It is no accident that every Halloween has been awarded a 1/5. Halloween is always so hyped up that everyone and their nan seems to be out on the town. It’s cramped, it’s expensive, and it’s the same every year. And if you’re one of the lucky ones who enjoys Halloween, then I truly do envy you, because I wish I had your outlook on life. To combat my growing cynicism, this Halloween I plan to be exceedingly tipsy while dressed in the most badass Boromir costume you’ve seen this side of Middle Earth, downing a pint (“they come in pints?”) in Skyrack while two poorly-costumed halflings brave the Otley Run without the aid of Gondor. I will have a horn, I will have a bow and arrow, and I will have zero responsibilities. After all, one does not simply walk to Dry Dock.