Who here’s psyched about Halloween? I am. My fangs are pretty much dripping.
I’ve always loved Halloween. I find it scary, of course, but if you can get past that, which luckily I can, there’s a lot of fun to be had. For one night only you can take off your jeans and mess up your hair and eat tons of blood capsules and act unacceptably poorly towards your fellow man. And more than that, it’s just a big excuse for a party. I love it – walking through town at 9pm and seeing all the old-school legends dressed primarily in black, carrying four-packs and screeching outside cashpoints. I guess it’s the closest thing we’ve got to Brazil’s Carnival or The United States of America’s Mardi Gras. Fortunately, it’s starting to become a bit more commercialised these days, so from about July, I clear the diary, start buying up fake fingernails and eyeballs, and lie low thinking about what mischief I’m going to unleash.
This Halloween I’m working till about 10pm and then I think I’m going to have a quick pint with my boss, but after that watch out. I’m going to strip to my Ys, wipe loads of pig’s blood on my face and neck and waddle round north London holding a scythe and quoting from scary films through a loudhailer. If I can commandeer a black cat along the way then so much the better. I just find the thing so liberating! There are 364 nights a year where that kind of behaviour would see you locked in a cell and whacked about by the duty officer. But on Halloween it’s all good. Banging milk bottles together, licking people’s doorbells, swearing at cats. It’s all part and parcel.
The best part of Halloween, though – apart from the carte blanche you are given to frighten people with tridents and lipstick – is, of course, the pumpkin. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of plonking the pumpkin down on the kitchen table and sharpening a knife slowly in front of him. I always wait until it’s dark outside before I get cutty. Then I put some frightening music on – I have a CD of sound effects from horror movies – and I carve him a smile.
While he’s drying, I’ll dump all the flesh and brains in a pot, add nutmegs and garlics and simmer up something close to a soup. I love the rigmarole. My parents have now moved on to a plastic pumpkin. They forked out a fair bit on it, of course, but you make your money back after three or four years. And now they no longer have to spend an hour scooping out each year, so they can press on with their trick-or-treating and terrorism. They’re old hands at that now. They’re more or less in their seventies, so they know what they’re doing. They dress up like zombies and pump bright green foam through people’s letterboxes and silently let down tyres. They’re pros.
I hope I still have a thirst for terror when I get to their age. Part of me feels that I’m in the sweet spot right now. As a child it was too scary so I would hide (dressed as a monster) under a bed, waiting for it all to be over. But now I am fearless. I have enough disposable income to ensure I can feed Miniature Heroes to scallywags if they come knocking with bats. But I also have good ideas of my own for spooking and enough energy to cause some mayhem round my hood after work. Which is what I plan to do. And then
I’ll waddle home, my mascara dripping, my voice hoarse from howling like a werewolf and I’ll pick up some Covent Garden soup, and I’ll go to my kitchen and I’ll pour my bland pumpkin slop down the sink, and I’ll heat up my Covent Garden soup and I’ll bang on The Shining, and I’ll retreat behind the sofa, and I’ll squat and I’ll drink my soup and I’ll wait for it all to be over.
Five more sleeps till it hits. I need to stop pissing about with my column and hunt down broomsticks on eBay.
Tim Key and Tom Basden will be scaring people for Halloween with ‘Freeze’ at the Arcola Tent, London E8 (8pm, 31 October)