What? That’s on the fifth? I missed the deadline for posting about it? No, I don’t think so. Because the fucking fireworks are still going off! These days it’s no longer Guy Fawkes Night, it’s Guy Fawkes Minimum-of-a-Week.
Eight years ago I couldn’t have cared less but since getting a dog (they’re the best, we don’t deserve them) I find the endless bangs and whistles at random moments during every evening from the first of November onwards excruciating. Poor Trigger dares not venture outside until his insides are about to burst out. When he’s in, he sits trembling alongside whichever one of us is looking like the best option to keep him safe.
Luckily, my children decided early on that standing in a muddy field in the pitch black at the mercy of a cold drizzle for the joy of watching fireworks for ten minutes wasn’t as much fun as watching from the kitchen window while sipping from a mug of hot chocolate.
It’s a bit mean of me, but I indulge this wussiness because I’m no fan of the traditional public firework show myself any more. I did love them as a kid, though. I enjoyed writing in the air with my sparkler as I watched thousands of the community’s pounds go up in smoke literally.
On rare occasions, what with fireworks being so expensive, my dad would buy some to let off in our own back garden. One year the weather was so bad, and dad had already shelled out his hard-earned, so he persuaded my mum that he’d bought ‘indoor fireworks.’ (They are actually a thing.) He hadn’t. There was a lot of damage done to the carpet and mum was furious.
Well, it’s after nine thirty pm on Sunday the tenth of November and it’s all quiet out there. Thank god the fireworks are over, then.
Can’t wait until the New Year!
I hate this ‘festival’ perhaps more than any of the other the selling opportunities that make up our society’s cultural celebrations these days. I hated it as a child and even more as an adult so I am overjoyed to have reached the stage now that my children are old enough to positively reject the idea of me having anything to do with their trick or treating. I no longer have to pretend to enjoy tramping through town watching kids shovel handfuls of nutrition-free snacks into their plastic novelty bag.
When I was a kid, there was no agreed sign to show who was a willing participant in the ‘festivities’ so you were always in danger of an irritated grownup telling you to bugger off. It also made the trek feel interminable as every doorbell had to be rung. At least these days some people are lucky enough to live in areas where there aren’t too many rancid pumpkins sitting in the rain on doorsteps. Of course, there are some communities who’ve swallowed the whole can of Halloween Kool-Aid from the States and throw themselves into it with gusto, so obliging some poor souls to spend hour upon hour trudging around in the cold, dark wet.
The costumes these days are, of course, very impressive. They make Amazon a fortune, I’m sure. We used to make do with a sheet with holes or torn into strips and painted with red blobs. Either at school or Brownies, I’d attend the Halloween party in a costume inevitably concocted at the last minute because I’d forgotten about it. I’ve a photo taken at once such event. One poor girl is in her Brownie uniform, so she was obviously more useless than me. However, one has to wonder if that wasn’t the better option when you look at my ‘costume’. I’m supposed to be a witch. I’m wearing a witch’s hat made of cardboard wrapped into a cone shape (fair enough – pretty standard). But my ‘dress’ is also made of cardboard wrapped into a cone shape. I fear the memory of what it felt like and sounded like every time I moved will never fade.
People who know me might be surprised to learn how much I despise Halloween because I’m a fan of all things horror-related: vampires, ghosts, werewolves and witches. During at least part of my childhood I actually believed such things might exist. I was taught that God definitely existed, so that meant there must be a Devil and Hell as well. In ancient times, the point of dressing up on Halloween was to protect one’s soul by confusing the evil spirits who were supposedly allowed to roam free for a night. Now that many people, including me, no longer, generally, hold such beliefs, the whole event has become trivialised and there’s no longer even an undercurrent of actual fear involved.
However, think about this: while ghosts and ghouls may belong in the realm of fiction, there is real-world evil, and Halloween allows people devoured by it to roam freely among small children while in disguise.