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A Scaredy-Cat's Ode to Halloween

Despite the fact that London has been damp, chilly and miserable for almost two weeks and my feet are little blocks of ice even with big socks and rubber soled slippers nothing can dampen my spirits today. Why? Well because it's Halloween and I love Halloween. An unnatural love perhaps for someone my age, with no kids and who is so easily terrified that I have to change the channel when an advertisement for a horror film comes on. I am just full of contradictions like that (it's what makes me so intriguing, mysterious and marvelous to be around - except when I'm whimpering during the jumpy-out bits of CSI).

I wonder if it all comes from my obsession with fiction. Halloween is a night (or a week) when everyone gets to transform into something other than what they are. I love all the gypsies, pirates, hippies, nurses, vampires - no doubt we'll see a 'trampire' or two this year -, zombies, ghosts and dead brides that suddenly appear on the streets. I especially love it when people come up with really funky out-there costumes. The last year we lived in the US a little girl on our street dressed up as Betsy Ross. You don't know who that is? She made the first American flag. Now that's out-of-the-box thinking. This year, a cousin of mine made a tank costume. It's incredible; full camouflage and all. He looks just like a tank when he's in a heap on the ground, but standing up it doesn't turn into a tank-shaped backpack, he becomes a transformer. Joy for all us children of the 80s. Regardless of anything else, he won't have to worry about being confused with the 5 other Supermen at the pub tonight.
We're a talented family - best costume. Ever.

In the spirit of regression, I spent my Sunday acting like I was about eight. I started the morning by completely screwing up the change in clocks and going from being an hour early to having to dash for the bus. How I managed to do this is unclear, but my money is on a wrinkle in time. Fortunately, I made the bus and got to Leicester Square in time to meet a friend and to go see E. T.: The Extra-Terrestrial on the big screen. It was a family screening, which meant loads of kids, cupcake decorating, free popcorn, a costume contest and lots of screaming. It was brilliant, though I think the father of the family next to us was a bit uncomfortable with the two childless adults at what was clearly a kids event. Nevermind. His fears were surely allayed when he saw me jump about two feet in the air at one point during the screening. There's a lot of screaming and surprises in E. T. that I had forgotten. It's not like I was scared. I just got a fright. Honest. There were four-year-olds that did better than I did.

Not wanting to break my childish streak I went home and carved a pumpkin. Sure, I should have been reading, but the next book I have to read is a choice between Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin and The Shining by Stephen King. I feel that both are probably best left until after Halloween. I'll also have to read them in full sunlight, crowded rooms preferably while surrounded by rainbows and butterflies. The plus-side to reading horror is that you can close the book if it gets a bit scary. In all honesty, though, I do fine with horror books. I've read several Stephen King books, I love gothic horror and my favorite book is Dracula by Irish author, Bram Stoker. The only exception was Dean Koontz's Velocity, which scared me so badly I'll never read another book by him. My other half kept telling me to just quit, but I couldn't. I had to know that it all ended up OK. I won't tell you if does or not, suffice to say, I think it's really, really scary.
My friendly jack-o-lantern

So tonight I'll skip the horror films, but embrace everything else about this the most fantastic of holidays. The fake cobwebs and spiders are up (I'm scared of the real thing), the jack-o-lantern is lit, the mini chocolate bars are bought and I'm reveling in it all. We'll probably be reveling for the next two weeks as people don't trick-or-treat here to the extent that they do in the US so we'll be eating Milky Way bars for days. I might secretly wish for Halloween to be a bigger deal, for Christmas to hold off just a bit and for the foliage to be as beautiful and intense as it is in Boston, but overall I can't complain. Who could complain with costumes as awesome as the tank?


  1. I wouldn't have put you to get quite so excited about halloween! If I'd have known I'd have incuded your flat on my trick-or-treat curcuit!

  2. You should have! Am gorging myself on "fun size" Milky Way bars left over from the big night. In a delicious twist of fate, we gave none away as I spent Halloween listening to the amazing Lillian Allen. She is incredible and Milky Ways are tasty. Win - win.


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