Thursday 1 November 2018

Hallowe'en Bah Humbug, and results of the 9th blog anniversary dishcloth draw!

Where do you stand on Hallowe'en? No really, it is a serious question. Me, I am becoming increasingly Bah Humbug about what I am astonished to learn has become 'our second favourite family celebration behind Christmas'. And that is a headline from The Daily Mail, so it must be true...ahem. I can also feel a creeping Bah Humbugness coming on about Christmas in fact - with its dispiritingly excessive consumerism - so I guess the highly manufactured commercial occasion of Hallowe'en was a natural casualty.

When I was a child growing up in Northern Ireland, Hallowe'en was the only cause for festivities - Guy Fawkes passed us completely by. Instead, we threw ourselves headlong into the serious business of wearing 'false faces' (the Ulsterism for masks), eating toffee apples in the days when we had the teeth to take it, bobbing for apples in the days when we had full neck mobility, and of course lighting fireworks. Though not after about 1968, when letting off fireworks at home was banned due to The Troubles, and it was a case of either attending public displays of pyrotechnics or bust. Additionally, our father had a student who would sometimes act as MC at my Hallowe'en parties, and whose star turn was making a ring move on the end of a string by the power of thought alone. And she had more tricks up her sleeve besides that. Speaking of tricks, we didn't do Trick or Treating in those days, or get dressed up, or decorate the house - there may have been some mimimal interaction with pumpkins, but I don't even remember that.  All the same Hallowe'en still managed to be a relatively big deal in the '60s and '70s - pre- and post-private fireworks.

I guess one of the reasons I went off Hallowe'en is the whole Trick and Treating thing, which came over from the States and which really annoys me, for I hate begging of any description. I don't care for crowd funding for that matter as a way of raising money for anything other than charitable causes, and consider it no more or less than a 21st century euphemism for begging. Then the practice of being mean to people who don't give you the requisite confectionery swag, or who insult you with a bag of carrots, notwithstanding their nutritional value, is anathema to me. Consequently last night I lurked upstairs and did not respond to the serial knocks on my door. I didn't stoop to turning the lights off downstairs, mind, because I simply refuse to be cowed by this tradition to the point of plunging the cat into darkness.

The other reason I went off Hallowe'en is frankly the goriness of people's costumes and make up. I am a squeamish soul and had to avert my eyes many times yesterday while scrolling through the Facebook posts of friends in their full ghoulish regalia. It is not that I can't appreciate the imagination and make up artistry involved, much of it highly elaborate, it is just that I am terrified of the sight of blood. ;) I don't go to Cake Club anymore, and I certainly wouldn't have relished last night's offerings, which included severed finger biscuits. Boy, were they realistic!

Source: Clare Chick

So did I do anything of a Hallowe'enish nature? Well, I did buy a squash for 39p in Aldi, mainly because it was colourful and nicely fills up the fruit bowl in the absence of fruit. I nearly bought a second one to finish the job, but balked at another 39p on an item I would probably not attempt to peel and cook, if indeed you can. For all I know, they may be entirely decorative.

Oh, and I will keep my eyes peeled when I go to the shops next in case they are selling off those little nets of chocolate pumpkin balls and the like. But I shall draw the line at eyeballs or spiders, however deeply discounted.

As for wearing a spooky or witchy Hallowe'en perfume yesterday, not a chance. I am currently trying to use up a few unknown vials which have been lying around for ages, having long since separated themselves from their Les Senteurs card or whatever they may have been attached to in the distant past. So I drained one of oriental of some kind at a guess, but not remotely susceptible to spooking the wearer, I am happy to say.

So there you have it. What a incorrigibly curmudgeonly soul I am in the Hallowe'en department, not entering into the fun at all. I didn't even wear my purple Lipstick Queen Goodbye lipstick that Undina gave me, which might at least have been a small concession to ghostly pallor. much did I enjoy looking at this garden, in a street above my house? What a lot of effort they went to, and what a veritable cornucopia of ghoulish artefacts! The pebbledash pachyderm is particularly unsettling. But seriously, if I was a kid now, I would have loved all that, just as I loved riding the Ghost Train at funfairs. It is perhaps a shame that I have lost my sense of childish wonder somewhere along the way, and become the humbug of today...

And now, on to the dishcloth draw! I excluded the overt DNEMs and put everyone else in. If I misread Lady Jane Grey's wishes a refusal will not offend, and I will do the draw again. As I foretold, the odds were excellent, as only four people were entered, haha.

So, having used the good offices of I can reveal that the winner of the 9th Blog Anniversary prize draw is:



Let me know your address again on flittersniffer at gmail dot com, even though I feel I should have it somewhere already, and I will post your prize off without delay.


Unknown said...

I have mixed feelings about Halloween. Some elements are great. I used to love decorating the bookshop and dressing up. I love giving sweets away too but I don't care for kids coming to the door and ringing my bell cos it freaks my dogs out. And I was appalled one year when really sweet neighbours got their house egged - for no good reason, they were out at the time. The mess was unbelievable and took ages to clean up. I do like that house display though. Now we live in a park lodge house we don't get people at the door but we do see a really nice group of Wiccans holding a ceremony. I'm all for the 'true meaning' of Hallowe'en. The world needs more magic.

Vanessa said...

Hi Bejoux Noir,

I was interested to hear your thoughts on Hallowe'en. That egging incident is quite shocking. I also think that people living on their own can be quite nervous when there is a knock at the door, especially at night. I am that soldier myself in fact!

And I forgot to mention that fireworks scare the cat, though I am okay with that noise. ;)

AustralianPerfumeJunkies said...

I am utterly ambivalent about Halloween. LOVE the outfits, kids going out and meeting the neighbours, everyone having a laugh and getting some candy. All that bit is good for me. Dislike the unbelievable amounts of money thrown away on plastic stuff that will mostly be in the trash tomorrow, in landfill day after. I have the same qualm about Christmas. Don't even get me started on my Love/Hate affair with fireworks.
Portia xx

Tara said...

Great post, V.

That garden is a ghoulish joy but yes, I'm not a fan of the trick and treating. It's fine if they only knock on doors with a pumpkin in the window or whatever but I don't think most adhere to that.

My own "celebration" in the run-up was to read Frankenstein for the first time and I managed to finish it on the 31st. That was as much horror and excitement as I can handle :)

I still remember a party in the 70s when we did apple bobbing etc. A lot more fun that knocking on people's doors in the cold.

I really want a toffee apple now...

Vanessa said...

Hi Portia,

Ooh yes, I so agree on the plastic tat. Mountains of it seem to appear around this time, and you are quite right that it will end up in landfill. I am feeling ambivalent about Xmas for that reason too. A friend posted an interesting article on FB on this very topic. Xx

Vanessa said...

Hi Tara,

Toffee apples were going cheap in my local Coop, so go for it, I say! While you still have the teeth.

Lol at your reading Frankenstein - very seasonally appropriate. And you have taught me something I didn't know about pumpkin lanterns being an invitation to Trick or Treaters. They certainly knocked on my door regardless. ;)

Nancy H. said...

Hi Vanessa. Speaking of holidays, I’m going to be in London for Christmas this year. Are there any perfume-related events or places that I should not miss? I can think of 4160 Tuesdays and Roja Dove. I would appreciate any suggestions from you and you readers. Thank you. Nancy

Vanessa said...

Hi Nancy H,

Nice to hear from you! I wouldn't know about events as I live some way out of London and am not really in the loop. As for perfumeries, they come and go, but if you like the super luxe scene, the Salon de Parfums on the top floor of Harrods is quite a spectacle. I still have a soft spot for Les Senteurs (now only in Belgravia), and the perfume hall of Selfridges gives you quite a lot of brands for your buck.

Undina said...

Halloween (I don’t know why suddenly my spellcheck decided to go British on me and inserted an apostrophe in this word, which I managed to remove - not a trivial task from your mobile, if you ask me) wasn’t a part of my growing up, and the first time I encountered it was after I moved to the US in my late 20s. Since then I always enjoyed it. This year was probably the first one when I didn’t do anything for myself for this holiday: I didn’t organize office decorations or any type of celebration, we didn’t dress up or go to any parties. It wasn’t because I stopped liking Halloween, but being extremely busy at work, I just didn’t have any energy left to spare. And since I’m usually the driving force for all these things, without me doing it, nobody else bothered.

I even wanted to skip the Trick-o-Treating (as far as I can see, in our neighborhood the absence of decorations is read as “do not disturb” sign and respected), but my vSO insisted we did “the neighborly thing,” and the day before the event, after work, we went to buy candies (mostly - dark chocolate, so that I can finish over the next year whatever is left unclaimed), and I put on some minimal decorations - just enough to signify that “wr’re Open for business.” I even put on some head band with witches, but I don’t think any of our visitors even looked at me long enough to notice: this time I especially felt like a walking candy dispenser.

I hope to have more energy next year to enjoy this silly holiday again.

Oh, and I don’t know why it’s the way you mentioned but here it seems people are keeping most of the decorations for years, adding more as the time goes, instead of throwing it away and buying new plastic stuff every year. So I haven’t noticed any significant increase in plastic disposal around this holiday.

Vanessa said...

Hi Undina,

I feel even more of a curmudgeon for hearing about how you and our vSO decorated your house to welcome Trick-or-Treaters in. Then laughed at 'walking candy dispenser'. And it was only busyness that prevented you from geeing up your work colleagues to celebrate Hallowe'en in full festive style!

I think I may be stuck in the 18th century with my apostrophe in Halloween, and have just realised that T-o-T is at least hyphenised. Can you tell I am not into the occasion if my attention to spelling is so sketchy?

Re the decorations, I am only going on the greater number of shops - and greater volume of Hallowe'en 'stuff' - that appears every year, and earlier to boot. From which I infer that even if some people (or do I mean 'e'en'? ;) ) keep their decorations, others are entering the market. Most of what I have seen is kids' costumes and paraphernalia rather than decorations per se, so maybe more children are getting into the scene as they see their little friends all togged up!

Anonymous said...

Ooh! Yay and thank you. Will send off my address...AnnieA