When I was a nipper, I was never that keen on Halloween. Back in Lincoln me and Steve used to always make a Guy around this time of the year. Mum had some of Dad's old clothes in the loft, so I used sneak up there and help myself to some trousers and a jumper and stuff them with newspaper, then we'd sit outside the paper shop shouting 'penny for the Guy' as people went in and out, then when we had enough spare change we'd go into the shop and buy some air-bomb repeaters.
That wasn't the best bit though, the best bit was on November the 5th, when I used to take the Guy down to whichever of the local bombfires that hadn't already been set alight in the weeks preceding and throw the effigy on the flames. I used to fantasize that Dad was going up in smoke just like the dirty old Catholic Guido Fawkes.
Halloween always seemed a bit like an American invention really. I preferred bonfire night. I suppose in a way Guido Fawkes was the original religious terrorist. I wonder whether if the Americans caught Osama bin Laden that they would have a public execution and then every year on the same day build bonfires, watch fireworks and eat baked potatoes?
The thing is, Halloween isn't an American invention (apart from the Hollywood film series and the heavy metal band musical not to be confused with Helloween the German power metal band). It's a very much a British invention. Like Christmas, Halloween is a pagan religious festival and it predates Bonfire Night by thousands of years.
There are loads of things that at first glance seem American but are actually olde Englishe. The word 'fall' meaning autumn, is very much an English word, the pilgrims took it over and it wasn't until we fell out with America that we started using Frenchisms like autumn. Zeds in words is also English, yet loads of people think it is an Americanism..or maybe that should be Americanizm, to use zeds instead of esses. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Paganism is the religion that Ruled Britannia before the Romans arrived and gave us Christianity. You know Stonehenge? Well, that's like the pagan version of the Vatican. Probably. I say probably because no one truly understands what paganism is. People sometimes use the word pagan as a derogatory word. To imply that the target of the venom is godless. But there is nothing wrong with being a pagan, any more than there is something wrong with being a Christian.
The Romans realized that they'd have a hell of job converting the Britons to Christianity. Since Christianity is a pretty boring religion. So, as a way of making it more fun, they repurposed Christmas. Maybe you don't know this readers, but Jesus Christ wasn't born on 25th of December. Someone (a Roman, possibly Julius Caesar) decided that the pagan winter solstice festival in late December would be a good time to have a Christian festival too. They probably thought, 'look everyone's a bit miffed, cos it's so effin cold, yet here are all the pagans having a wail of time, throwing parties, dancing around bonfires naked, having group sex. They love it. I know, let's tell them that Jesus was born on the 25th and they're use it as an excuse to keep boozin it up, everyone know the Brits love any excuse to get on one'. And thus Christmas was born.
No one knows when Christ was born, there's absolutely no documentary evidence to suggest he was born in December, in fact, there's bugger all evidence that he was born at all. But still, Christmas is great fun, and far be it from me to be a party pooper.
Although, I must admit, I am usually a party pooper about Halloween. Not because I'm anti-pagan. I think I have proven on many occasions to the blogosphere that I am very religiously tolerant. Gill used to complain when we'd sit in on Halloween and I used to refuse to the answer the door when the local kids came knocking. This year though, my flatmate Dan has talked me into going to a party with his friends.
I wasn't going to go, since I know for a fact that Dan is almost certainly a gay, so it might make things a bit awkward at home and in the office. I haven't really decided to come out myself and I think I might still fancy girls a bit. I have no problem with going to a party at a house full of strange homosexuals, but if I'm still straight, I'd probably want a few girls to chance my arm with. But then Dan told me that he'd invited Suzi and some of the other girls from the office. Apparently Suzi us going as a "a sexy zombie" sounds good to me ;-). Anyway, Dan was most insistent. He even got me a costume. So I agreed to go. I'm going as the caped-crusader himself, the dark knight, Batman.
I feel a bit daft readers, I've got the outfit on as I write these words, I think there might be some parts missing, I've got a fake foam six-pack, but the bottoms are just a pair of black lycra leggings. You can easily make out the shape of my packet, so I've got two pairs of pants on just in case and I've bolstered the undercarriage with a sock. I figure if girls can give Mother Nature a helping hand with a Wonderbra, why not fellers with a Wonderpant!
Dan's given me the address and said he'll see me there as he's meeting the boys for a few drinks in Clapham. I've already had a few Cobras for Dutch courage, I think wandering across South London dressed as Batman is asking for trouble. Dan said to not turn up too early though, in fact, he recommended that I wait until at least closing time, which suits me, I can watch X-Factor and Match of the Day.
KK readers, I hope you have a good Halloween. I'll tell you all about the party tomorrow!