What is this crazy obsession with Halloween? '“Â Verity Lush
Halloween; it is everywhere. It is on crisp packets, it is on cake wrappers, it is onÂ chocolate bars. Halloween is smothering the bottles of soft drinks in theÂ supermarket aisles, and it is festooned across the shelves every which way oneÂ chooses to look.
Why? Just, why? Money, obviously. But to what end?
When I was young, Halloween was barely acknowledged. My mum would buy aÂ pumpkin and carve it and that seemed pretty exotic back in the dim and darkÂ days of the 1980s.
And then, suddenly, somewhere between 2008 and 2018,Â boom. Halloween exploded.
This must have originated via America but I wonder why we grabbed it soÂ whole-heartedly? For a nation who usually makes any dig they can at the USA, weÂ seem especially pleased to take on just about everything except Thanksgiving.
Instead, we point out that the US gives thanks for what they have on the finalÂ Thursday of November each year, and then swiftly buys as much more asÂ possible the next day, Black Friday.
Which, of course, is another idea we have nicked from them.
Is it the Internet, I wonder? Because now that we have instant access to allÂ corners of the globe, perhaps we also feel that we are one global community '“Â when it suits us. Aside from the small matter of leaving the EU.
When we first moved into our home, nineÂ years ago, there was nobody on the streetÂ at Halloween. Now, every year, there are more and more kids on the streets withÂ their parents.
We are just as bad '“ my husband and girls like nothing more than decorating theÂ outside of the house for Halloween '“ and maybe we have embraced it to such anÂ extent for the same reason the Pagans also cottoned on to what becameÂ Christmas; some decoration and fun during the months when the dark begins toÂ creep in and the nights are cold.
Given that both festivals have Pagan roots there might be something in that,Â depending of course on your religious stance.
Either way, as consumers, we seemÂ to lap it up.
Ah, finally, a whole week at home with bickering children
It's been a long old half-term for all the children who went back to school inÂ September, and mine are certainly starting to show it.
But, finally, they haveÂ broken up. Homework tasks are done, early morning routine can stop for a week orÂ so, and they can enjoy some quality family time.
Alternatively, they can fight with each other, bicker over the screens in theÂ house, try to nick crisps from the cupboard (actually hidden on top of the fridgeÂ but one of them rudely got tall enough to reach it easily), and complain loudlyÂ should we dare to suggest bracing walks.
Either way, I am looking forward to spending time that is not planned down toÂ the minute, and letting the kids be kids.
These government muck-ups have massiveÂ consequences
I seem to get to a saturation point with news where I simplyÂ can't take any more in.
Universal Credit for instance '“ you get to a point whereÂ you actually can't see the point.Â The same with Brexit. These both have massive consequences, yet they both just seem like government muck-ups.
Child Benefit rules are the most ludicrous. One family can pull in Â£99,999 a yearÂ and still get their Child Benefit. Another can pull in Â£60,000 and get nothing.Â Which particular government moron came up with this tosh?
The people running our country sometimes seem like a bunchÂ of gormless contestants off The Apprentice. If only we could shout, '˜You're fired!'.