If you’ve stepped inside a supermarket in the last couple of months, you’ll know ‘tis the season for…Christmas decorations and fireworks and six-foot tall, battery-operated, glowing-eyed skeletons.
Remember ‘Four Seasons In One Day’ by Crowded House, the New Zealand band that broke up in 1996 and reformed in 2006?
Between those years, the founders of the band, Tim and Neil Finn, toured under the name ‘Considerably Less Crowded House’.
Because there were only two of them. Geddit?
The song popped into my head last week when I wandered into a supermarket and was confronted by Three Seasonal Celebrations In One Shop.
In front of me stood a trio of colourful displays, all vying for my attention.
The Christmas Decorations Display.
The Fireworks Display.
And…the biggest of all…The Halloween Display.
Oh, how I loathe Halloween, Trick Or Treat, Rubber Bats, Pumpkins….and everything else associated with the spooky ‘celebration’.
In saner times, Halloween barely registered with us Brits.
BBC 2 might have broadcast a documentary about witches or ITV slipped an old Hammer film into the late-night schedules. But that was about it.
It’s no co-incidence that Halloween started becoming more popular here after 2003 when the law was passed to prevent under-18s from buying fireworks.
Retailers, desperate to replace their lost income, noted how popular Halloween was in America and saw it as a way to take more of our hard-earned cash. Thus, the British Halloween industry was born…
Looking at all three supermarket displays, I found myself shaking my head at this blatantly greedy attempt to empty the purses and wallets of a population still in a recession.
The displays were designed to persuade parents accompanied by wide-eyed children to spend money they can ill afford on horror masks, plastic spiders and other meretricious macabre merchandise.
Although there are still firework displays, for individual families November 5th is (pardon the pun) a bit of a damp squib, no longer such a big date in the calendar. And I don’t hear as many loud explosions during the run- up to Bonfire Night as I used to.
Unless I’ve been out for a vindaloo curry!
So there’s been a definite sea change from Rockets & Roman Candles towards Tricking & Treating and we can blame those damn Yanks, who’ve been Halloween crazy for decades.
Like most things American, where they lead, many Brits follow.
Some of you might think “Halloween‘s just a bit of fun for the kids”, but it’s also a worrying night for old people, especially those living alone.
They don’t want children and teenagers banging on their doors all evening, so they draw the curtains and switch off all the lights, hoping their evening won’t be disturbed.
They can of course obtain “No Halloween Callers Please” posters from their local police station. But they’d better hurry because I’ve got two-dozen stuck on my front window.
And if the kids don’t get the message, the six-foot tall, battery-operated, glowing-eyed skeleton standing in my porch should do the trick….a treat!