I don’t want to be petty or anti-American, but one of the scourges of the past decade or so is the growth of Halloween as a fully marketable ‘festival’ to give supermarkets a little bump in the run up to Christmas. Halloween is big in the US, and it’s getting bigger…and more depressing here.
It seems a rule set in stone: the more marketing a festive ritual gets, the less meaning it has to people taking part in it. It seems a far cry from ‘All Hallows Eve’ when dark spirits were given free rein to roam, in a dirty inversion of ‘normal’ life.
It’s tough to market fear, so the bats all have to have smiley faces on them now. It wouldn’t do for people to really be frightened! So get people shopping as a panic suppressant…
And yet… this Halloween, it seems there’s a lot to be afraid of. If you want to celebrate properly, forget the plastic tat and get yourself really scared by the real dark spirits that are haunting us:
- FTSE 100 directors’ pay going up an average of 50% in a year, at a time when inflation is roaring at 5%+ and everyday wage packets are frozen solid.
- £4bn – you read that right – will be handed out on top of salaries this Christmas to workers in London’s financial district. And this is seen as a ‘bad’ year for bonuses…. it’s normally around £6bn.
- The earth’s population has passed 7 billion, just at a time when climate change means land is becoming less productive.
The tradition of carving out pumpkins (or turnips, traditionally in the UK) comes from the ritual of ‘souling’ – making a lantern to remember the souls held in purgatory. Forget the crooked teeth – carve out the face those facing eviction, those made redundant or those whose crops failed this year…and may do next.