Love it or hate it, there's no getting away from Halloween:
As you’ll know, Halloween is HUGE in the States. According to one Halloween costume company there are 41 million potential Trick or Treaters this year (aged 5-14). People will spend $1.21 BILLION on adults’ costumes, $1 Billion on kids’ costumes and $310 million on pet costumes.Yes, that's right - pet costumes. 87.78 million houses will give out candy and everyone will consume an average of 1.2 pounds of the stuff. As I said, HUGE.
It’s also quite good fun; people get into the spirit and in my neighbourhood, will decorate their houses on the outside, and perhaps sit on the front porch to greet the kids coming round. Either that or they’re just making sure that no one takes more than a few pieces. Last year we had kids with pillowcases in which to carry their booty.
All the parties happened on Saturday night so there were quite a few “sights” walking round the streets. I may have mentioned in previous years that Halloween costumes here don’t have to be spooky. Kids dress as anything from a Mario brother to a knight in shining armour, and grown men get the chance to dress in women’s clothing without people looking askance at them.
I, for one, went all out this year with the help of a 2nd hand psychedelic cat suit and a large wig. I went to a party where there was also karaoke, so my look was 70’s Disco Queen. Unfortunately I ended up looking more like a Drag Queen, but it’s all good fun.
Looking more drag than disco, with my Sith date.
Halloween is alive and well in Horsham. Although I detected a lack of enthusiasm in the run up to the celebrations—merely a few window displays in some of the local shops—today it seemed as if someone fired the starting pistol on all things Halloween.
While wandering around town today many of the store clerks and market stall staff were dressed in costumes and there was a celebration at the band stand where groups of children in Halloween garb got to show off their stuff. While walking across the street to get a Chinese take away this evening, I saw young people in fancy dress going into town and after dinner I heard the raucous celebrations and saw the fireworks display (which I enjoyed from the balcony while smoking my postprandial cigar) taking place at the local cricket ground.
In addition to this, on the telly tonight, Strictly Come Dancing, QI and some other popular shows have aired (or are going to air) Halloween-themed programs. Considering that (with the exception of Strictly, which is a live-ish show) these episodes were filmed back in July, it is obvious they have been thinking about Halloween for some time.
What I do not see in any of this is any trick-or-treating, and that is how it should be. Don’t get me wrong; I love that aspect of Halloween and consider it the very essence of the holiday in the US. But that’s the thing: Trick-or-Treating is American and is therefore looked upon with misgiving over here. To have kids showing up at your house demanding candy is akin to a confectionary shakedown. An article I read while waiting for my take-away—written by the Sussex Police—advised parents, if they were going to take their children trick-or-treating, to visit only the homes of friend or relatives (i.e. people who were expecting them).
So Halloween is not ignored over here, it’s a major part of the autumn celebrations, which do not include pestering strangers for candy.
Oh, and there’s no TPing, either.
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