It's Halloween. Give a monkey's?

26-10-2017

Halloween! What's not to like? Just a few short decades ago we were content to bob a few apples. These days we're consuming chocolate Halloween eyeballs, €3 a bag from Marks and Spencer - and we love it. So here's the official McCannBlue top six listing of things that make our modern Halloween what it is.

No1 The fun-sized Snickers bar

Well the monkey nut's off the table now, isn't it? It's an ex-treat. In fact it's almost gone over to the trick-side. Yep, nobody gives a monkey's. It's gone the way of apple-bobbing, that fruit-based equivalent of dancing at the cross roads.

And of turnip-carving. Which, given that the average turnip would typically break several knives before it bore even the slightest resemblance to the lantern you were aiming for, has got to be a good thing.

Who killed the monkey nut? Prime suspect is the fun-sized Snickers - and its free availability on the nation's doorsteps. Although since this bar is mostly peanuts anyway, perhaps there's a sort of justice at work there.

No 2 The pumpkin

Nobody saw the pumpkin coming. Sure, it turned up in other people's Halloweens - 'other people' in the sense of Americans. But over here in Europe, we rarely had to deal with a real one. The things were scarcer than hen's teeth in Ireland until the early 90s.

But now? Well look at us. The crash, which wrecked the sales of other foreign notions - like skiing holidays and BMWs - didn't harm pumpkins at all. Entire office blocks went into NAMA. But the pumpkin didn't. Yes, it's the ultimate Celtic tiger fruit (vegetable? Gourd?).

No 3 The colour orange

Like tigers, pumpkins are orange. And it's their orange-ness that has given creative types in Ireland the greatest cause for concern. Well, you try getting the brand's message out there when everyone else is using the same colour you are in - with 'boo' in the headline.

In the apple-bobbing years, the orange-iest things in Ireland were actual oranges and the inside of Jaffa cakes. Now, however, it's impossible to out-orange Halloween. The season has officially reached peak orange. More worryingly still, the colour has been co-opted by a man that many people are wary of being associated with [see no 4 below].

No 4 The Trumpkin

Of course Donald Trump is not yet the presiding spirit of Halloween; this job is technically still Satan's. But judging by Satan's recent activity on Linkedin, that may not be the case for long.

Meanwhile, amongst the creative community, the feeling is that the Trumpkinification of Halloween would be an Americanism too far - for a festival that is already burdened with a terrible miscellany of US imports [see no 5, below].

No 5 The Wolfman...

... the guy in Scream, zombies, axe murderers, psycho killers, Snow White, pornstar Snow White, zombie pornstar Snow White? Come on down.

'Do not cross' crime scene tape outside your house? Bring it on!

What exactly was wrong with our own dear native selection of costumes, I wonder? The witch/ghost/something-in-a-bin-bag trio? Everything, that's what!

Nowadays anything goes. And if each costume already represents its own individual horror franchise, so be it. To find an exact equivalent in the spy genre, you'd have to stick Jason Bourne, Austin Powers, a couple of Bonds and George Smiley in the same movie. Do this to Christmas you'd end up with Santa, St Nicholas, a penguin, a donkey and the baby Jesus - all in the same grotto. Good idea.

No 6 Zombie owls

Yes they are a thing. And they're at M&S too. Strange how this kind of carry-on doesn't happen at Easter, isn't it? Did you ever see, for instance, an Easter lizard in Supervalu? Or a chocolate Mary Magdalene? You did not. But at Halloween, it's open season. [see no. 5 above] 'Fizzy fangtastic popcorn'? Don't mind if I do!