If you have too much time on your hands it could even mean this…
But for my sister and I the spirit of Halloween is more than just over the top costumes and expensive decorations. We see beyond the sugar coated antics of our peers, looking much further ahead, past the day itself. For after every Halloween comes the bit that really gets me excited – reduced pumpkins.
Ok, granted I wasn’t posing in that exact same fashion when my ankle went, but when it started to ache during a shopping trip I decided to ignore the pain and carry on walking on it. I’d decided to venture to the fair Welsh capital of Cardiff and I didn’t want to turn back before I’d even got properly stuck into my needed dose of retail therapy.
As well as the blinking obvious (walking on a duff ankle) there were other things I didn’t fully factor in whilst hobbling around the city centre on a Sunday in mid-late October. These ‘things’ feel into three categories:
The impact of a particularly bad cold virus.
Excitable children on school holidays, pumped up on sugar and in want of Halloween ‘stuff’.
Super eager women, pumped up on caffeine and hell-bent on obtaining Christmas wares before anyone else.
The result was pure shopping chaos, particularly when I became caught up in the shopping centre at peak time. Quickly I found myself bent and morphed into shapes usually reserved only for the most brutal of Twister games. Grunting the pain away like a reindeer on Christmas Eve, I kept my eyes straight and aimed my cold-filled, Rudolf Red, nose towards the nearest exit.
Out of nowhere they came. Turning out of a shop and charging toward me at speed came a group of teenage girls. Dressed in clothes that liberated their pre-pubescent figures, the young women clutched their semi-empty milkshakes in one hand with a firmness that was nearly as strong as their grip on the pre-ripped, bloodied, shirts that were slung over their backs.
“We’ve got the dead look covered this year girls!” One of the party exclaimed triumphantly, as she pored over a small bag of purchased make up. The others nodded in mild agreement, slupping on their milkshakes and scrolling through void blocks of information. At the command of their leader, the group circulated around a black screen to appease the tiny dot before them. The first snap failing to satisfy, they posed for another photo, and another. The look of death had a time and a place, and as far as the camera holder was concerned Snapchat wasn’t one of them.
Upon realising that my collision with the party was both inevitable and likely to write off my foot (for which I felt quite sure the girls lacked any sympathetic insurance), I decided to change my path. Like a Shakespearian character my persona as flipped into a Hellish beast as I gritted my teeth and turned on the sore ankle to walk around the female cluster.
As I hobbled on, dragging my bad leg behind me, I saw bitter sweet irony reflected in the eyes of all the ghoul clad staff who regarded me with confusion and unease. Coffee stands decorated with bloodied bandages and skulls, shops festooned with beaming figurines and tinsel, each environment looked down at me with a soulless attitude that clung onto those who dwelled beneath. Of all the shopper types it was only the husbands and boyfriends that took the crown for being more out of place than I. Loaded like a Biblical Donkey, acting like a Hollywood Zombie, the men of the city took pity and avoided my half dead shape, whilst their respective partners walked in window-display bedazzlement across my path. I gave a half smile of encouragement to these brave men and pressed onwards.
It was a circular pattern of discomfort and disinterest that punctuated the day. The simple pleasures; the reading of a book undisturbed, discovering a nicely styled boot, these glimmers of joy were hard won and so easily lost. A noisy patron in the neighbouring seat, a swollen foot rebelling against a test environment. A reminder perhaps that no one can be a God in the world of the Godless. This thought whispered around my brain in mockery as I slowly staggered towards the bus station. A hissing that ended with the slamming of doors and screeching of the brakes as I departed the capital once again for English soil.
Life, sore ankles and seasonal shoppers; nothing lasts forever.
I mean think about it, we’re told from birth that it’s not ok to scare people and to tell your sister she’s ugly is not a nice thing, yet on one day every year it’s suddenly acceptable. On 31st October it’s perfectly fine to make yourself look like something from The Walking Dead, or look like a slutty zombie nurse (FYI – who decided that was an attractive concept?) and walk around town making people feel uncomfortable.
Only one day a year is it acceptable for nations to get into fancy dress on the town. Not even at Christmas is there one designated day for it, and on Valentine’s day I’d actually be more disturbed to see what people did/didn’t wear. For that matter I’d be more curious why they were out in fancy dress in the first place. Weird thoughts Alice, reign it in…
I really cannot judge in the slightest, last night I was out on the town as part of a Halloween social with my 18-30 group where I was dressed as an attractive witch (because there is a line between nun and zombie wonder woman Jenna Marbles…)
If anything it made me wish I could spend the other 364 days a year walking around in a green and black dress and pointed hat and used my vast array of attractive faces on passers by.
(Honestly, at the moment my faces are vastly under used and appreciated. It’s a crying shame.)
Halloween also is also probably the only time of year where I can wear black lipstick, apply a grey filter to photos and, after a couple of glasses of wine, tell myself I should rock the goth look more often. Even though gothic Alice would quite literally be the most hilarious thing and would probably offend many people in the process.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, why do I somehow manage to always look better when I’m merry? I look better, but conversation level is never at it’s peak unless you want me to tell you how wonderful you are. Another reason why I can’t do goth, too ruddy adorable.
I really, really could go on at great length about Halloween costumes. There’s just so much to talk about, discuss and, ultimately, judge about what people choose to wear and the amount of effort people put into their outfits. Time and effort that results in a) a decent look which wows people for all of 10 seconds b) a outfit that looks half-arsed or c) an outfit well put together, but incredibly distasteful and/or one which ends up with the wearer getting punched. I’ll leave costumes at that.
It’s also at Halloween that I feel twice my age. Why? Because I inevitably go into shops and say ‘when I was a kid there wasn’t any of this tat. You had one ceramic jack-o-lantern and a pumpkin with two triangles and a rectangle for a mouth. And yet in recent years I’ve found that if you go to the Halloween section in a discount shop on, or near to, the day itself, you’d think they’d been stocking medical supplies when a deadly virus struck or that they’d been displaying Furbys or whatever kids what for Christmas nowadays.
The fun and games my sister had was a brutal game called ghost in the dark. One of us put on a large blanket and dashes about in the dark, the other has to grab them and throw the ghost onto the sofa. Those where the early days of ‘night out’ bruises – how neither of us sustained more serious injuries is forever a mystery. All said and done though, living in the middle of nowhere we never went trick or treating, there were no costumes or sweets or house parties and, as far as I was aware, there wasn’t much of a buzz for it nationally either. I don’t really know when it changed, but as the famous British theorem goes, “if in doubt, blame the Americans”. I think the whole Mexican festival of Day of the Dead must have played an impact but then that’s a tradition dating back centuries, why is it only now that it’s become a big deal? Are skulls in fashion nowadays, alongside owls and scatter cushions? Hmm, it’s all a mystery to me.
At any rate, happy Halloween people. If there’s anything that I guess you could say about October 31st, it’s not a festival that is heavily rooted in modern day religion, it is something that anyone and everyone can throw their full weight into.
For those who have been out this weekend celebrating, I hope it was a good one, to those going out tomorrow, I hope it is a good one. However your nights went or do go, just remember this; no matter what it could always be worse. You could be a cat being made to wear loo role against your will, even though you know it looks pants and does nothing for your street cred.