I am ashamed to say this, but I almost forgot about Halloween this year. I mean, over the weekend, I knew it was happening. It was hard to miss: in Queen Square here in Bristol, I happened upon a Zombie parade. I’d been seeing Zombies here and there all day, as a friend who was visiting and I traipsed around town. It was amusing actually: two or three Zombies would get out of their car and look at their phones, scowling, as though they were late for work. And then they’d amble off, apparently resigned to whatever it is they had to get done that day. I imagined some kind of brain-eating quota that was getting harder and harder to meet.
Eventually, after a full day of wandering around town, my friend and I had treated ourselves to a well-deserved pint, and then decided to go home for some quiet screen time. As we walked toward my flat, we saw a lot more Zombies, but this time they were walking with purpose, and not staring at their phones like… well, Zombies.
“Oh,” I said. “ I think there’s a thing.”
So off we went after I pointed out that it was also on the way home. And there, in the middle of the square, surrounded by beautiful old homes that when she was visiting, The Mom said reminded her of Southern America in a gothic sort of way, were about a hundred to two hundred Zombies. And this being Britain, there were health and safety type folk, with signs helpfully marked ‘Brains’ pointing out the route the parade had been allocated. You have to organise these things in advance here, you can’t just have a random Zombie parade.
But that happened at the weekend. Come Monday, I was up to my ears in the usual Monday-office related business, and because here you don’t get many trick or treaters, and also I live in a building and to do that in here – the UK isn’t quite at that level yet.
So I hadn’t noticed that I’d forgotten it was Halloween. Until later in the day when all my Facebook friends were taking their kids out and then Boom! My feed was awash in some pretty great looks from around the world, and that I have to tell you made me happy and also a bit sad. Sad because some of the pictures I was seeing from North America were epic – streets with full on displays, kids in such elaborate costumes that you just knew they’d been beavering away for weeks.
Halloween has always been my best holiday. I felt it spoke to me: put a crazy costume on and go out demanding candy from strangers. Honestly, there is no more perfect holiday. I still enjoy the idea of making a fun costume but as is traditional, mine tend to be so overtly elaborate that they end in disaster so in some ways, it’s best I don’t get involved.
The Mom may remember one year when I decided to go as a Converse shoe. That particular gem of a costume involved a lot of heavy wood (to make the cardboard stand up, obviously). I think I might have been better as the person who comes up with the ideas, because execution has never been my strong suit – except perhaps the year I went as a spleen. I just cut a weird shape out of bristol board and copied out an entry about the spleen and its functions. Thankfully, there were a lot of doctors in our neighbourhood at the time and my efforts were met with high praise.