In contrast with the glut of Christmas inquiries I've received over the past few weeks, there has been an eerie (but not displeasing) absence of another kind of festive notice: the sort that implores us to buy all things Hallowe'en. Food, drinks, clothes – the spooky season is normally one giant marketing opportunity.
Not this year. Instead, Hallowe'en appears to have been entirely passed by. I only noticed the trick or treat display in my local supermarket at the start of this week, so overshadowed is it by the towering rack of Christmas cards (intended, presumably, for long-lost relatives whose PO Box is located in another galaxy entirely). I'm not sure why this is – though I suspect it has something to do with the fact that, this year, the 31st falls on a Monday. And no one has fun on a Monday, do they? Not counting students, of course, whose comprehension of fun knows no temporal limits (this, at least, is what I can surmise from my 20-year-old sister's regular updates of her FaceBook profile).
But the rest of us? Well, we know that Monday is the day that you go straight home and lie on your sofa. Which is fine by me. Great, in fact. There are few things I like more than going home and lying on my sofa – except going home and lying on my sofa with a glass of red wine in hand, an episode of The Killing on TV, and a bar of chocolate waiting for consumption in the fridge. So this could, to use the hyperbolic parlance of my sister's FaceBook updates, be The Best Halloween Ever!!!
It is also certain to be the cheapest. A flick through the nightlife listings confirms that tonight – Saturday 29th – is going to be the token night for the Hallowe'en Parties. And, for the first time in goodness knows how long, I won't be attending one. Instead, I'll be going to a birthday party. A birthday party with no specification of fancy dress whatsoever.
Which is great news. Fancy dress, like an unwanted party guest outstaying his welcome, is something I once found amusing – but can no longer abide by. It is, to my mind, the opposite of glamour. You go, get all done up in your Gothic chic, and some personality deficient geezer rocks up dressed as a house. Or a dinosaur. Or a frog. And you think: "This isn't why I got all dolled up, is it? To talk to a guy wearing a cardboard box." It's also a tremendous waste of money. It's an outfit you wear once, and never again. Thankfully, this year, it's not even that.