Danse Macabre

When did Halloween become so HUGE?  Seriously, you can’t step outside the house without being accosted by some sort of ghoul or smothered in cobwebs.. (Actually wait – that’s inside the house – note to self, must dust. ( Next Year Job.)

Nor is there one unifying theme.  Marks + Spencers, normally the bastion of shortbread and cosy respectability, seem particularly conflicted. Exhibit A – enormous chocolate halloween eggs, priced at £18.99. Look, I like chocolate as much as the next person. But at that price I’d expect to find Brad Pitt in the centre. (Or maybe Angelina.  She’s a bit more Halloween).

You see what’s happening? Halloween’s so ubiquitous, it’s even become an adjective. Plus a great excuse for a party – not least  in the States.  Cupcakes shaped like poos.  Quite literal ‘finger food’. Hilarious costumes. (My personal favourite? A skeleton entitled ‘Anna Rexia’. Ouch, my sides).

But even here in the British Isles, retailers such as Selfridges are getting in on the grisly – with a forthcoming ‘edible autopsy’ event. Your read it here first.

Since 2003, our halloween spending has increased 23 fold. £280m a year – the third-biggest after Christmas and Easter. Cited in the Sunday Times, Francesca Gavin argues that ‘we’re surrounded by images of war, violence and destruction on a daily basis, and so we have needed to find a way to live within this culture of fear’.  Maybe so, but surely war and destruction are nothing new..?

Perhaps what’s changed aren’t our circumstances, but our beliefs.  Without a narrative to explain our lives and give them meaning, then what’s the point? Festival or fact, we might as well slap on the fake blood and run screaming towards the grave. After all, no-one says ‘party’ like the Grim Reaper.

2 thoughts on “Danse Macabre

  1. LOL! I often forget there is a need to dust above my own eye-level :S

    Halloween has been “huge” in the US for years. It seems as though the commercial outlets find excuses to get their death-focused goods onto the shelves earlier and earlier, and I expect the overkill (no pun) of violence and such does tend to numb many to the nature of this particular holiday.

    I do think you have an excellent point with regard to the lack of grounding in everyday life which leaves people grasping desperately for something to provide meaning; or at least to counter the gnawing feelings of futility.

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