It’s October! While for chumps in employment this just means that you now have to commute home in the dark for the next six months, the next big event in the student calendar is Halloween! Unfortunately, Halloween is a total vacuum of substance and taste that we should really all get over. Here's why it belongs in the grave, under a tacky plastic headstone.
1. Is it really that different from the rest of your nights?
Halloween’s USP is that for one night only it’s acceptable to act like an idiot, eat your body weight in sweets and drink cheap spirits by the pint. If you’re 15 and you still have to rely on your parents to fund your bad lifestyle choices, this is pretty exciting. But if you’re a student it’s just another day. Daft costumes, a terrible diet and dicing with alcohol poisoning on a weekly basis are already part of the higher education package. By the time you turn 18 Halloween is effectively redundant.
2. It's Ridiculously Corporate, Even by Holiday Standards
Fun fact: Halloween is now the third biggest spending event in the UK. For a holiday that is variously associated with ancient Celtic festivals, throwing eggs at houses and carving faces into hollowed-out fruit, this is pretty remarkable. The idea of a night of pranks and excessive consumption rings a bit hollow when you’re essentially rounding out the balance sheets of the fake spider web industry. But at least we know the economy is bouncing back when we’re collectively spending over £300 million on a non-festival every October.
3. The tat. The endless, hellish piles of tat.
The money that goes into Halloween wouldn’t be so insulting if it wasn’t spent on the absolute worst dross imaginable. As well as being utterly boring, that witch mask and rubber spider set you got in Poundland is likely to go straight in the bin after the big day is done. At least you can stash Christmas decorations away and use them again next year. In theory you could do the same for Halloween but that would probably require thought and some kind of emotional attachment, neither of which are particularly closely associated with a day dedicated to sweets shaped like bugs.
4. Your Halloween Costume Probably Sucks
I love good Halloween costumes. The best of them display real craftsmanship, ingenuity and commitment. Unfortunately these outfits make up about 2% of the nation’s fancy dress output, with the rest given over to a generic horde of zombies, ghosts and racial stereotypes. It only gets worse as you see more throughout the night: there’s the ironic non-costumes for people who just couldn’t be arsed; there’s that guy who spends all his time complaining about how little money he has but then blew an entire term’s food budget on an outfit that still looks awful; there’s the ‘edgy’ costumes that manage to stand out in their tastelessness even on Halloween. This year there are even concerns that many children’s Halloween costumes will easily catch fire, presumably out of shame for their own existence.
5. Generic Horror Films
Much like Halloween costumes, October’s inevitable glut of cash-in horror films presents the occasional gem but is mostly a sea of turds. For every It Follows you get four Paranormal Activity sequels, two Halloween remakes and enough fake ‘true horror stories’ to fill a Daily Mail supplement. It’s Halloween’s fault that you can’t go to the cinema in Autumn without seeing a generic trailer about creepy, possessed children doing creepy, possessed things. (Although in its defence, Halloween TV specials are frequently excellent).
6. Halloween-themed Student Union Nights
7. What are you actually celebrating?
This is the root of my problem with Halloween, not any of the trivial stuff. Halloween is a non-thing, devoid of any substance or meaning. Look past the fake blood and there’s nothing there except a cynical marketing machine and an inevitable feeling of queasiness the next day. Christmas may have its share of tat and crap tie-ins but at least it has some kind of significance. Look, by all means drink and eat yourself into a coma, do it in fancy dress if you must, but do it for a better reason than a consumerist reskin of a Christian feast day.