Sunday, 1 November 2015

The fog arrived a day too late for Halloween - but it's welcome nevertheless...

This is what our local park looked like about an hour ago:


Pretty spooky, right? Perfect for Halloween, right? Only that was yesterday, when it was crystal clear and positively sultry. Still, better late than  never with the atmospherics - it now feels as if autumn has truly arrived:



After you...


Like most people of a certain age, I've tried to maintain a disapproving attitude towards the eclipsing of Guy Fawkes' Night by Halloween. What about "A penny for the Guy, mistah?" and a packet of crappy sparklers, half a dozen bangers, a Mount Vesuvius and a malfunctioning Catherine Wheel in the back garden? Why don't we no longer want to celebrate the foiling of an act of terror devised by religious extremists to undermine our hard-won democratic system? And isn't the invader "tradition" just a commercial ploy to make parents squander even more money on their little darlings (the decorations and costumes are becoming increasingly elaborate). And do we really want strangers knocking on our doors and demanding sweeties at all hours?

But I give up. Halloween looks like fun. For instance, here's how builders left a house they're doing up in the next street when they knocked off work yesterday afternoon:



Now that's witty.

And the sound of happy squealing and chattering from droves of imaginatively-costumed ankle-biters as they make their way down the street almost brings a tear to the eye. In any case, Halloween has been going strong in these parts for almost two decades - probably because of the large number of Americans who live here. And we're not free from blame, having organised a Halloween-themed birthday party for our son some fifteen years ago. My wife used to stick a lighted pumpkin outside our door and hand out sweets to callers on the day, but she gave it up after some of the parents started grabbing sweets for themselves, evidently labouring under the misapprehension that this was merely an extension of Britain's generous benefits system, and some of their offspring - invariably uncostumed - took to cramming their pockets with extra handfuls "for mah sistah" (they weren't, needless to say, English or American or French or Polish or anything like that).  

But apart from a certain confusion regarding etiquette, it's all seems pretty harmless - and we still get to enjoy the increasingly spectacular fireworks displays: as long it stays dry, Chiswick Business Park this Wednesday at 7pm is the place to be. 

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