As an undercover goth who has spent many mornings trying to not always wear black, Halloween is by far my favourite time of year. I idolised Wednesday Addams as a kid and still remember the glorious day, aged 15, when after much cajoling my mum let me take the train from Leighton Buzzard to Euston so I could go to Camden and buy a spiked collar choker. Yeah!
Now I'm a proper grown up. Okay, now I'm kind of a grown up. But I get to spend my days creating weird and wonderful immersive experiences, which is occasionally a cool excuse to make my surreal imaginary worlds a reality. And what better world to create than a super sexy, spooky one? With killer cocktails, excessive amounts of eyeliner, lots of knee-shaking, bone-rattling tunes... and less teenage bullying.
For me, the best Halloween parties are the ones that embrace its pagan roots. Originally to mark the end of harvest season and the beginning of darker winter days, it's the point in the year when the veil between our world and the next is said to be thinnest. Where boundaries are blurred and lost souls rise up to perform the danse macabre. Which is why, in case you ever wondered, there's so many vegetables. And ghosts.
But whether it's old traditions like carving Jack-o-Lanterns, or Mumming (Google 'mummer's plays' if you want to see what a freaky 19thC version of the Mighty Boosh looked like), or more modern interpretations like Dead Famous parties, it's all about being genuine. Finding authentic touches to fit your theme can make all the difference. So ditch those plastic pumpkins and make your own props, source a spine-tingling playlist that echoes your era, or conjure up some culinary delights that fit your concept.
So now we come to my Ten Commandments. If you love the idea of turning your house into a Hollywood cemetery, Dante's Nine Circles of Hell, or KFC at 1am in Brixton, here's a few tips to keep the party looking all guts and glory, not lame and, erm, whore-y.
Under the gothic trinity of Bela Lugosi, Tim Burton, and Robert Smith, I therefore proclaim:
1. Thou Shalt Not Be Tempted By Tacky Shop-Bought Decorations
2. Thou Shall Invest In High Calibre Cocktails and Give Them Names
3. Thou Shall Impose a Strict 'Make Some Bloody Effort' Dress Code
4. Thou Shall Make Use of Smoke Machines
5. Thou Shall Use Lots of Lamps, Lanterns and Candles for Dramatic Lighting
6. Thou Shalt Not Do A Lame Seance, But Can Invent a Halloween Version of Cards Against Humanity
7. Thou Shall Find A DJ That Plays Howlin' Blues And Hot Jazz
8. Thou Shalt Not Forget To Buy Ice
9. Thou Shalt Remember Doing Your Make-Up Takes Longer Than You Think It Will.
9a.Especially Those Day of The Dead Looks.
10. Thou Shalt Not Eat Too Many Sweets And Be Sick
Ok so I admit these are perhaps a little tongue-in-bloodstained-cheek. But hopefully you get the gist of it. Pay attention to detail, take your time, saturate all the senses, and for the love of all things (un)holy... stock up on face wipes for the morning after.
And maybe, when the artfully draped cobwebs have been dusted away, I'll follow Wednesday's advice on dress sense after all;-
"I'll stop wearing black when they make a darker colour."