Dubai diaries: How has Halloween come to this?

Top Stories

Published: Sun 31 Oct 2021, 12:40 PM

Happy terrible pun day, everyone. I hope you’re ‘creeping it real’ this All Hallows’ Eve, or is that ‘witch-ful thinking’ on a Sunday? October 31: it’s always a tricky time of year, if you’ll pardon the... never mind. Dreadful plastic tat including, but not limited to, cheap vampire capes and oily looking face paint fill supermarket aisles while regular TV shows dress their sets in orange and black. Normally po-faced news readers inject a sense of levity into the headlines, crossing their fingers no tragic breaking news interrupts their jokey banter. Far be it for me to spoil the fun, but the whole rigmarole had me thinking: what does Halloween really mean to most of us? The short answer for this writer it appears is ‘not a lot’.


David Light

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Let me be crystal clear from the outset, I’ll support any excuse for a party. Your kid has graduated fourth grade? Let’s throw a fiesta. They had garlic bread in the canteen for lunch? I insist we go out! However, over the years Halloween has become a somewhat annoying exception to the rule. Don’t get me wrong, if a ghoulish event looks fun I’ll have my trademark Harry Potter costume on quicker than you can say ‘expelliarmus’, though I no longer look forward to the night of reverie. I believe it’s because the whole shebang has been imposed upon us. Nobody was crying out for an evening to dress up in fewer clothes than normal in the depths of winter (in Europe) and go clubbing. Christmas is just round the corner. Yet as the decades have passed the noise, expectation and crucially merchandise surrounding the night of enforced spookiness has quadrupled in volume.

Cast your minds back to a crucial epoch defining moment we called 1992. If nothing else gives you a scare today the fact this was almost thirty years ago will. In England, Boyz II Men’s End Of The Road was riding high in the charts, Disney’s Aladdin ruled the box office and plans for Tamagotchis were probably being drawn up. On a late October afternoon the front door goes. It is answered. Taking a second for eyes to adjust to the seasonal pitch-black darkness 4pm would bring, there stood what can only be described as a hastily thrown together homemade Gremlin. “Trick or treat,” the furry mess rather unenthusiastically stated whilst desperately trying to avoid the Arctic breeze threatening to whisk away one of its chicken wire ears. This was it: my first face-to-face with the embodiment of a holiday I had only seen on TV. “Sorry Colin,” I recognised the sniffly voice, “we don’t really do that.” “Okay,” came the resigned reply before my neighbour shuffled off to the next door down. Will such a response be as calmly received by kids ringing the bell tonight? With spirits as high as they get these days? ‘Boo’ must be joking.

More news from