‘Tis All Hallow’s Eve, that haunted festival where where we spend seventeen thousand pounds on cheap flammable costumes and all children vom before bed.
Being in the pre-school children’s entertainment biz, we tend to go horror-lite costume-wise at work, though one Dad broke the child-friendly code and turned up this morning in a full scream mask which was an excellent experiment in how many screaming toddlers you can fit inside a church hall…
As with all supermarket-enforced events, the true meaning of Hallow’s Eve as a festival of the dead is…erm…dead to most of us now.
There are many variations on the origins and rituals of Halloween, but in almost all cases it is based around the idea that on this night, the spirits of the dead descend on the living and because not all these spirits are terribly nice, you ought to scare them off a bit with an extremely competitively carved pumpkin, (pics of which MUST be uploaded to facebook) or provide them with a peace offering like a sackful of shit sweets but no nuts please coz they might be allergic.
I don’t believe in any spirits that aren’t called vodka.
After my Mum died, lots of people commented that she was ‘at peace’ now, in heaven, or ‘always with me’ which was the last thing I needed to hear. When your Mum is mentally ill and has committed suicide, you aren’t that keen on the idea that she might still be lolling about in the corner of your room, watching you snog boys.
I couldn’t understand how dying could suddenly have caused her to miraculously sober up, get some intensive psychotherapy and become a spiritual saint.
I do though, find myself thinking about her every year at Halloween because on this day, forty-three years ago, she was about to give birth to me.
1973, I imagine her hoofing around in a bellowing seventies frock, swollen ankles rammed into fur-lined, knee-high boots. These were the days when pregnant women were not required to glam-up their bumps in skin-tight dresses whilst wibbling about in heels.
These were the days when pregnant women could be seen openly smoking fags, swilling gin and scoffing *gasp* soft cheese. Though public opinion was beginning to shift, as for her pregnancy with me, Mum switched from her usual forty JPS Superkings a day to just twenty slim cigarellos…
I arrived tomorrow, on All Hallows Day. A day to remember our departed loved ones in heaven and celebrate our saints. Every year Mum would tell me the story of how she’d held on until the 1st of November to give birth to me, keen that my innocent little soul would not arrive on this earth at the same time as all the ghouls and poltergeists in case I became entangled with them and banished to the underworld forever.
She loved a good story, did my Mum.
As a result of that story, I had the strongest feeling that I’d had a narrow escape; that just a few hours earlier and I could have been condemned to a life of evil pursuit, or perhaps to no life at all…
Oh the gifts our parents bestow!
Tonight I am determined to banish the dark thoughts of old. I am hosting a little neighbourhood Halloween shin-dig. It will involve children vomming while the adults comsume a huge cauldron of Vodka cocktail.
Evil spirits…be GONE!