Alan Dee: Face it, this Hallowe’en horror is hopeless

Help me out here, people. I honestly don’t understand and perhaps you can explain. What, exactly, is the deal with Hallowe’en?

Tuesday, 23rd October 2012, 8:15 am

I know what it’s supposed to be about, of course, but my confusion comes because it just doesn’t seem to be happening.

There’s a complete disconnect between what’s being rammed down our throats by retailers and what’s actually happening out on the streets, and I just wonder how much long it is going to go on.

The issue came to the front of my mind last week when I popped into a well-known discount retailer – you know, the place where everything is a quid but the till staff have to scan every purchase and always seem pleasantly surprised that, for example, the five items in your basket produce a bill of precisely a fiver – in search of some stationery.

The range on offer was sadly limited, and for a specific reason – it seemed that about half of the floorspace had been turned over to Hallowe’en stock.

There were fancy dress items, party bits and pieces, banners and balloons in the familiar black and orange, false fangs and skeleton masks – you’d have thought we were in Mexico City on the run-up to the Day Of The Dead.

Now I’m a live and let live sort of guy, and if people want to buy this sort of tat I have no objection to big names on the high street filling their boots even if it does irritate regular customers legitimately looking for more everyday items.

But this stuff just wasn’t shifting. Nobody was browsing, nobody was buying, and in my experience there wasn’t going to be a rush any time soon,

Every year there’s a rash of recipes for Hallowe’en recipes on TV cookery shows, bags of fun-sized sweets sprout by supermarket checkouts to feed the trick or treat market, po-faced police spokespeople sound warnings to the younger generation about going easy on the eggs, thinking of nervous old folk and generally holding themselves back.

But on the night itself – and it’s still more than a week away, if you’re looking around in vain for signs of Hallowe’en fever – the whole thing is a damp squib.

Mrs Dee, a soft soul, always lays in a goodly supply of miniature choc bars with which to fob off the little monsters who knock on our door with their veiled threats – but last year we had just one pint-sized phantom, in a pretty pathetic costume and with a parent in tow, waiting out on the footpath.

Nobody I know hosts a Hallowe’en party, the streets around my way are not transformed with pumpkin lanterns and the like, and while I’m happy to accept that I’m just out of the loop on this continuing attempt to foist an American celebration on to the national consciousness when we’ve got a perfectly good Fireworks Night just around the corner, I don’t think that’s the case.

So how long will it be before the cartel of big business, the media and the devil himself have a conference call and admit: “We’ve given it a good go, it’s not working, let’s try and fleece them with something new.”

And more to the point, what will their next scam look like?