As the weekend of magic, mystery and too many Scream masks approaches, I reflect on some of the reasons I and, judging by the trolleys filled with pumpkins, sweets, witches hats and devils horns, we love Halloween.
Here are 5 reasons to love Old Hallows Eve, or at least love-to-hate it!
As the darkness draws in, the temperature chills and with the change-of-season blues, autumn and Halloween in particular signal the start of the festive season – something to distract us and keep us excited about what could otherwise be a fairly gloomy time of year.
2). Teen Wolf
Perhaps because I grew up in South Africa where this was not such a big tradition, and watching all the American movies as a kid and teenager, Halloween seemed really cool to me. And I am definitely making up for it as an adult! Pumpkins, Halloween parties, fancy dress, spooky stories – I embrace it all!
3). Interview with the Vampire
The otherworldly captures our imagination. Look at our fascination with all things vampires, witches and werewolves, scary stories, the supernatural or the just plain macabre…. Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Witches of Eastwick, Harry Potter, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals (inside I'm still a teenage girl - don’t judge me!) And let’s not forget Buffy, Angel, Blade, or Underworld. Practical Magic, Hocus Pocus, Penny Dreadful, American Horror Story. The Blair Witch Project, An American Wolf in Paris. And for the really scary stuff: Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Friday 13th, The Shining, The Ring, Silent Hill… Anything by Stephen King. And I won’t even mention the gore fest movies. The list is as long as it is sinister! What will you be watching this weekend?
4). Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
It’s a great and fun excuse for young and old, guy or girl, to dress up in all manner of strange outfits (full make-up included!). Perhaps a chance for our darker alter egos to be let loose for the evening? It has become quite a tradition now for the past few years that friends and I decorate the house and all vie for the ‘Best Costume’ award at The Halloween Party. It started small and has grown in quality – the decorations expand every year, dry ice is ordered in for the cauldron (aka the bloody punch bowl with ice hands); the best costume awards are now for both male and female categories (or other, judging by some our friends' outfits!), with some awesomely outrageous effort put in. Ultimately, it’s a chance for us to act like kids and do dress up (with alcohol of course!).
5). The Walking Dead…
And let’s not forget the history of this tradition – all over the world, people and cultures have celebrated harvest time (think of our apple cider, pumpkin soup, bonfire nights). The celtic tradition of Samhain was a pagan festival celebrating the decline of the sun’s warmth, preparations started for the winter and the end of the year. It is also closely linked to All Saints Day, celebrated on the 1st November in many Christian countries in South American and Europe, and the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) celebrated in Mexico (and as seen in the latest Bond film). These days symbolise celebrating the dearly departed, a chance to respect the other side, the otherworldly…Or just an opportunity to indulge our childish and slightly strange sense of fun!
So on these crisp, misty nights, with piles of fall leaves covering the sidewalk, a full Hunter’s moon in the clear sky, and ridiculous pumpkin faces staring out at us from people’s front windows, I leave you with the words of one of my favourites:
Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!
Trick-or-Treats? Some inspiration for your Halloween weekend...
Of course it would need to be the classic 'Thriller' by Michael Jackson (I loved this music video as a kid!):
An oldie, but a goodie: Wolf with Jack Nicholson. In fact, why not make it a Jack Nicholson night and throw in The Shining too?! Eek, I may regret saying that.
True Blood (Sookie!) - I used to be a Trubie, so it might be time to bring out the box set (you'll be noticing a theme by now!).
If you prefer reading these to watching them, Bram Stoker's Dracula or for something slightly less eerie, Harry Potter.
How about some Whiskey Mischief with a Bloody Venom (recipe by Cheri Loughlin, from The Intoxicologist)...
1-1/2 ounce Jim Beam Bourbon
1/4 Fresh Lime Squeezed
Top with Mountain Dew
Drizzle 1/4 ounce Homemade Grenadine over the top
Place Jim Beam Bourbon in highball glass over ice. Squeeze 1/4 fresh lime over top and discard lime. Top off with Mountain Dew. Drizzle 1/4 ounce grenadine over the top. Enjoy with fanged pleasure!
If you’re not hosting or going to a Halloween party this year, our pick of the London crop would be the Mad Lab themed evenings (Friday 30th and Saturday 31st) at The Kilburn Ironworks (332 Kilburn High Road, London, NW6). The decor is adequately freaky, the cocktails are amazing (it will a Molecular Cocktail menu - these guys are super stylish and creative with their concoctions), and as having been to some of the owners’ parties before, I can guarantee it’ll be fun!
Happy Halloween kids! (Bwahahahaha.... Cue evil laugh fading off in the background)