Is it just me, or is there an army of Christmas elves and pixies hanging around in the dark backrooms of high street shops, just waiting, feet on the blocks, for the exact second Halloween is declared over? No sooner has the last kid spent a sugar induced, sleepless night of smearing face paint all over their best Chewbacca duvet than, by stupidly early o'clock the next morning, BANG, all the shops, everywhere in existence, have cast off the cardboard ghouls and ghosties, and declared a new regime of gaudy, plastic decorations, Christmas trees, and very sparkly things.
Saturation would be an understatement - this is consumer war at its angriest: each advert, outlet, website, and wholesaler pitching against each other to win small - and big - hearts, with much of it nothing more than old tat. I mean, come on, how many recipe books can one person own? In fact, how many different ways are there to cook a spud?
Still - Granny does love her old tat ... or so we fool ourselves.
And Halloween would be right to feel neglected. Sure it gets a cursory few weeks, where it can say, 'I'm the main kid in the house' - some choccies at the sweetshop counter, a few masks at the end of the row in supermarkets, hell (pardon the blatant pun) even some pop-up shops devoted to cobwebby stuff and rubber bats. You'd even think being older than Christmas - Samhain to the ancient Celts - that would afford Halloween some older brother status ... but no, little brother gets all the attention, even steals some of the trappings from poor old Halloween's celebrations; hangings, trees, candles.
As soon as sun breaks on the 1st November, the bat-cake crumbs are wiped away from the kitchen counter and everyone gets ready for the big blow-out in December. It's as though people are actually eager for all that Christmas panic induced stress. Bring it on the heartburn.
So please, feel a little for poor old Halloween, and give it some attention next year. Yup, you turn out the kids in Dracula costumes, Frankenstein masks, and ghost sheets - even that one family who don't get it and sends the girl out dressed in their ballet clobber - and you do the give-sweeties-to-children-who-interrupt-your-dinner thing too. But, when the next day comes, have a thought for the celebration just gone, and give yourself this extra day of rest. Stick Freddie in the DVD player one more time, break out that sly, extra bag of Halloween popcorn (yes, there is such a thing as Halloween popcorn) and make this festival of fright last a while longer ... if nothing else, because it's cool as bejaysus.
Happy Halloween 2015
My movie of the month:
Annabelle - In homage to the time of year.
My book of the month:
The Magic Cottage - James Herbert. Also in homage to the time of year, because James Herbert is such a loss, and it's a fantastic read ... everything you would expect from a master of supernatural fiction.