Stop knocking Halloween. It’s a chance to crack my teeth on toffee apples

Brits buy in to spookiness, so bring on the pumpkins and trick-or-treating.

Share
Related Topics

It’s 30 October, which is technically Halloween-eve, so I hope you have your pumpkins carved, your house haunted and your decorative bats poised overhead.

I’ve had my flat decorated for a week, obviously, because I love Halloween. This can come as no surprise to those of you who have seen me below my headshot – I have dressed like a witch since I was 15 years old, and that is unlikely to change now, since I am statistically likely to resemble a witch more and more as the years go by. 

Every year, some killjoy tells me Halloween is an American import and I should save myself for good old-fashioned British Bonfire Night, but answer me this: shouldn’t there be two days, less than a week apart, where I can crack my teeth on toffee apples? And, anyway, the word for a fear of Halloween is samhainophobia, which should remind us all that Halloween owes more to Celtic roots than transatlantic ones. 

Besides, as a nation, we’re pretty sold on spookiness – apparently, 60 per cent of us reckon we wouldn’t buy a house if we found out it was haunted, which suggests that considerably more of us than I would have guessed believe in ghosts. Or have seen The Haunting too many times. 

But my recent trip to America has left me with massive Hallow-envy. Who knew you could buy bat-print doormats? Not me, or I would have bought one years ago to go with the haunted tree we’ve put up in the hall. I once walked past a house in LA that had a giant animatronic black cat in the front yard, whose eyes flashed and head moved when you approached. It also made a slight creaking sound, possibly from lack of use, since pedestrians in LA are rarer than the ghosts of unicorns. 

For this week’s trick-or-treaters, the research is in, and it turns out that Cambridge is likely to provide you with the best haul. The property prices are high, which theoretically means the owners have cash to spend on barrels of sweets, and the traffic levels are low, which means that even in a borderline sugar coma, you’re unlikely to get hit by a car. 

The second best place would be my flat, as I always buy in coffin-shaped chocolates, and then hardly anyone turns up (perhaps that witchy reputation is more serious than I have so far considered). But even this is better than my previous flat, which was in the roof of a huge Victorian house. No child, it turned out, wanted sweets enough to walk up 70 stairs to get them. And since there would have been a net calorie deficit on the trip, I could hardly blame them. 

 

All the world’s a Greek tragedy

Last week, I went to see Rachael Stirling play Medea in Mike Bartlett’s excellent modern version of the Euripides tragedy. She’s fiercely good. Since it’s my favourite play (I know – it’s a mystery that I don’t have kids), I reckon I see about one production of it every year. Most of them, if I’m honest, aren’t great. But they keep being staged: audiences can’t seem to get enough of Greek tragedy.  

Prof Edith Hall, at King’s College, London, reckons that more Greek tragedies have been staged in the past 50 years than at any time since the ancient Greeks were watching them. Which makes perfect sense: plays about war, disease and infidelity are as relevant as ever, and morph seamlessly into contemporary settings. Faithless husbands and wives still hurt their spouses, contagion and disease still terrify us, and the war might now be against the Taliban rather than the Spartans, but the nature of war itself – and its impact on those involved – is unchanging.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Why it won’t be the i wot won it – our promise to you

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
A relative of dead Bangladeshi blogger Washiqur Rahman reacts after seeing his body at Dhaka Medical College in Dhaka on March 30,  

Atheists are being hacked to death in Bangladesh, and soon there will be none left

Rory Fenton
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor