Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, has its roots in the ancient Day of the Dead ritual. As spectacularly shown in the new Bond film, Spectre, it is still an enormous festival in many cultures. In the Christian West it transmogrified into something, in their view, less barbaric. A celebration of all the Saints, no such thing as a living Saint you see. All Saints Day, or All Hallows Day, is celebrated annually on November 1st while in Celtic cultures the Day of the Dead hung on in the form of All Hallows Eve. Modern day Halloween, as invented by Coca Cola or some other corporate monolith no doubt, has become a huge date in the diary for young children – the one day of the year when they can head out with an empty bag, and pockets full of things that go bang, to knock on strangers doors to receive free sweets… they also get to terrorize, in the nicest way, the local community as they discharge the things that go bang in the throes of a sugar rush.
Fancy dress is an essential element of Halloween, the scarier the better. For Dads with hair loss it is the perfect excuse to step out with a hairline… How much you spend on your wig is up to you of course, and there is some great value to be had renting if you can’t justify a serious investment. The idea of wearing a wig, with all its drawbacks and limitations, is anathema to most of us (click here to see a current forum thread with a great account of life under a rug).
The fact is that October 31st can be a cold night here in the UK, a hat is acceptable. But that just adds to the attraction of a wig for the night. Once you have finished escorting the children round the local streets to collect their treats it is all back to the pub, a thoroughly enjoyable part of the evening as friends struggle to recognize you under a fringe – some of the reactions are superb.
This year, as in each of the last 5 or 6, I dusted off the wig in preparation. I began to start thinking about what costume might be wrapped around it, what make-up could be used. All to no avail. Just one of the manifold issues associated with growing boys is their appetite for technology. Combine this with the fact that they are overflowing with their own ideas and a fait accomplit has been presented to me – Yesterday morning, quietly minding my own business at work at home, a knock on the door announced the delivery of my costume for tonight – chosen and ordered on my behalf by the ten year old, I was to be cast as Voldermort (some might say type-cast!). For those of you not familiar with his character I can tell you he is bad guy no. 1 in the series of Harry Potter stories. The main thing about Voldermort, from my perspective, is that he bald. As a coot! Throw in the fact that he has no nose and I declare myself less than delighted.
So. This Halloween I will be walking my local streets with my entire head painted white, and with my nose taped flat (I unfortunately have the type of nose that lends itself to this). Far from the vision I had been teasing myself with this last month, and totally wasting all the time spent in front of a mirror mastering a casual flick of the fringe.
Roll on Christmas and that big floppy red hat.