Absolutely Not About Hallowe'en

Italy has gone Hallowe’en crazy, several years behind England and many years behind the US. Our local dime store which is hardly in the vanguard of fashion has a whole, erm, department, dedicated to pumpkin-related artefacts. But I did hear one note of sanity on the subject this afternoon. Funnily enough it came from a neighbourhood drunk after he’d asked me, pretty-please, if he could jump ahead of me in the supermarket checkout line. He needed to complete the urgent purchase of a bottle of beer. Actually, he finished drinking it while we waited.

First he noticed I had a large pumpkin in my basket. Then he noticed I was wearing blue pants with brown shoes, a black jacket and no earrings and surmised that I was not Italian.

‘English?’ he asked.

‘Pumpkin for the Hallowe’en thingummy?’ he asked.

And as I really couldn’t be arsed to explain to a man who grazes in the beer section that this pumpkin is actually for our pantomime and my mission is to keep it in a wholesome and non-gloopy condition for the next two and a half months because no Italian store is going to be selling whole pumpkins in January. Apparently the secret of successful pumpkin storage is to bathe it in a weak solution of chlorine, then keep it cool and in the dark. But I digress.

The beer drinker told me thought Hallowe’en was sinister. I agree. If it were plain dumb I’d just ignore it, but it’s a perfect marriage between Godlessness and crass stupidity. I loathe it. 

He had one last question for me. ‘How ever do you get the candle inside it to make the lantern?’

I guess that’s what drink can do to the brain.

So anyway, the picture of teeth is nothing to do with the upcoming horror-fest. I chose it rather to mark the day I returned to my dentist after too long an absence and discovered that all the money I spent with him in 2007 has been put to good use. One now awaits one’s doom in the new Laurie Graham Commemorative Waiting Area, complete with glossy mags and a flat screen TV.

It’s nice to feel one has made a difference somewhere.  



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