I don’t really do Halloween. Partly because it wasn’t something we ever bothered with when we were growing up, and partly because scary’s never really been my thing (in other words, I’m a wimp). Places like the London Dungeon, where people might leap out at me from dark corners, are a no-no, and I don’t watch scary movies unless I’m home alone and can hide behind a cushion or jump three feet in the air without fear of embarrassment. I’m still slightly traumatised from our school trip to see The Woman in Black at the theatre when I was 14, and haven’t been able to look at rocking chairs in the same way since. All in all, me and scary just don’t go together.
This has meant two things this week: firstly, at the Halloween themed pub quiz on Tuesday, I was worse than useless.
And secondly, when one of my colleagues suggested we all come to work in Halloween costume on Thursday, I wasn’t impressed. I like fancy dress as much as the next person but I just couldn’t get excited about this particular theme. At the last minute I realised I needed a costume and hastily purchased a devil cape, horns and a fork, and invested in some bright red nail polish. Worn over a black dress, I figured it would do the job.
And I have to admit, it was really fun to arrive at work and see what everyone was wearing. We had a vampire, a werewolf, a corpse bride, a couple of devils, a skeleton and various hooded figures wearing suitably terrifying masks and creepy contact lenses, all going about their usual daily business. Coming into the kitchen to find Death filling the kettle was quite a surreal experience.
What made it more fun was that we had some people coming in for interviews that day. They’d all been warned, because it seemed a bit unfair not to, and we were secretly hoping they might turn up in costume too (in the end, only one did – but it was enough). Various ideas went round the office on how to freak them out, including getting Frankenstein’s monster to greet them at the door and escort them upstairs, and having the Grim Reaper stand silently in the corner throughout each interview. We didn’t do any of these things in the end, of course; we’re not that mean. But it was great to see the interviewees’ reactions when they arrived, and I think it’s fair to say they won’t be forgetting their interviews with us any time soon.
In the afternoon, one of my colleagues produced a cake shaped like an eyeball. This was horribly confusing for me; on the one hand, I love cake, and as the colleague in question is very good at baking, I knew it would taste amazing. On the other hand, anything to do with eyes completely freaks me out. So the thought of cutting into a cake shaped like an eyeball – honestly, even typing it right now is making me feel a bit sick. In the end, I compromised and waited till it didn’t really look like an eyeball any more before having a slice, all the while repeating to myself, ‘it’s just cake, it’s just cake’. And, as expected, it was delicious.
Anyway, I guess my point is – sometimes you might not feel like doing something; it might seem like too much effort or just not your cup of tea. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing – you may be surprised how much you enjoy yourself. In fact I’ve come up with a new saying: ‘Just because a cake looks like an eyeball, that doesn’t mean it won’t taste good’.