Halloween stresses me out. Not because of all the little ghosts and goblins on the streets, but because every year I have to reveal one of my biggest secrets: I am not good at making things.
When I was younger, living in the cultural melting pot that is Bahrain, I had some seriously creative friends, who put their all into making the perfect costume – and they’d do this over the course of a few weeks. They've looked incredible over the years, as a lizard, candyfloss, a Gesserit from Dune, a handmaid, Chucky inside his box, even a Babybel.
Then there’d be me – either with two holes cut out of a white sheet (no joke) or dressed in normal attire, looking like the Halloween equivalent of Scrooge, who doesn’t want to play along.
But I did want to play along! I just wasn’t organised enough to start thinking of something so far in advance, and I certainly wasn’t crafty enough to make whatever I might have been thinking of, anyway.
As with most of my personal failings, I blame my mother (sorry, mum), who wasn’t very artsy, either. She’d be the one cutting the holes in the sheet for me.
Now that I have two children, living in another cultural melting pot, Dubai, Halloween is thrice as stressful. Especially because my eldest absolutely loves it. One of her favourite activities throughout the year is dressing up, so throw in a witch’s hat and a bag full of sweets (something else I’m not keen on) and you have one overly excited three-year-old.
Thankfully, I have my mother-in-law around, who is far more adept at crafts than I am, having raised three goblins of her own.
I know what you’re thinking – why don’t you just go to the shop and buy an outfit? Well, now that my child is old enough to know what’s going on – kind of – I’ll probably have to. I’m not happy about it, though, since they’re truly extortionate and these kids are only realistically going to wear it once.
And let’s not forget, it’s not just the costumes, is it? It’s the decorations, too. For some reason, imagining a house-front that features spider webs and carved pumpkins just doesn’t come naturally to me.
I’m not as bad at Christmas decorations, perhaps because I do the same thing I’ve always done my entire life. Growing up with British parents, Halloween wasn’t much of a thing. My mother-in-law is American, though, and we’ve all seen how much the US loves All Hallows' Eve, so I admittedly rely heavily on her for the decorating too (you would not consider me a Halloween-hater if you came to my front door right now).
All of this stress doesn’t actually put me off Halloween. I might seem like a Scrooge in my regular clothes, but I do enjoy a jump-scare here and there. I’m a big horror-film fan, so scary-movie marathons are right up my (darkened) alley at this time of year.
And seeing all the little kids in their costumes around the neighbourhood is very cute. Getting up from my comfy couch a hundred times throughout the evening to answer the doorbell and hand out chocolate to them? Not so much.
Alright, maybe I am a Scrooge.