Alice-Azania Jarvis: Bring on Hallowe'en. I can run to jelly babies

In The Red

As it turns out I'm not the only one inclined, at this distant stage, to boycott Christmas. Quite a few of you are, too. Scroogism is contagious, and its particular infectant is the overtly punctual hard sell that the festive season inspires.

Already the press releases roll in, encouraging us to encourage you to buy absurdly overpriced, frequently ugly, often useless things to decorate the back of your attic. Soon the advertisements will follow, pushing beverages and food, clothes, mugs, candles, decorations – even underwear – that all have precisely zero to do with the occasion they purportedly mark.

Still, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Christmas – and the savings-leeching schemes it inspires – remains some way off. First, we have other hurdles to overcome. Like Halloween. According to reports last week, Halloween has surpassed Valentine's Day in the corporate cram-down-your-neck stakes, making it one of the biggest selling dates in the calendar, despite no one seeming to know what, exactly, its purpose is.

The bad news is that Halloween has yet to happen, so we still have a significant spending hurdle to overcome before the real biggie hits. The good news, though, is that Halloween, unlike its nauseating lovefest of a cousin, is at least moderately fun. After all: sweets! Who doesn't like those? And fancy dress! And parties! Compared to Valentine's Day's growing shopping list of cards (or, worse, none), chocolates (likewise), flowers (the same), jewellery and dinner, Halloween is a free pass to Good Timeland.

Oh OK: not completely free. It's worse if you have children, or if you live in an actual house, as opposed to a nondescript East London towerblock. Both factors make you a sitting target for trick or treaters (in the two Halloweens I've been in my flat I have yet to receive a single visit, despite my diligent jelly-baby buying). And, of course, fancy dress doesn't always mean rummaging around in your cupboard for something vaguely spooky.

Increasingly, people seem to actually buy their costumes, a trend I find utterly baffling being in possession of a wardrobe as impractical as it is overstuffed.

Still, as far as I am concerned, Halloween is the one occasion not to be approached with economic dread. After all, what's a few packets of own-brand candy and a cotton sheet in comparison to a box of over-priced, over-sugared chocolate hearts, eh?

a.jarvis@independent.co.uk

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