On Halloween night a couple of years ago, whilst walking home from a party dressed as a handsome devil, I came across a man who had never heard of Halloween before. He had literally just arrived in the country that night to discover that Britain was full of fancy dressed drunkenness, unseasonably scantily clad ladies and way to many Heath Ledger costumes. Culture shock is a bitch.
The dude came up to me, big silly grin on his face, pointed at a witch snogging a somewhat out of date Jack Sparrow, and asked what was going on. Imagine trying to explain Halloween from scratch to a grown man. Add into the mix his broken English and my slight intoxication. Simply saying, “It’s Halloween,” made no impact on this guy at all.
“Er… One night a year, um… you get to dress scary or silly or whatever… um, trick or treat? Ring any bells?”
It didn’t. There is no real reason for Halloween other then the fact that it’s a bit of a laugh, which seems pretty mundane to us, but it totally tickled this guy. He didn’t understand, but he loved it. Luckily my awkward explanation was cut short when a gang of Smurfs, while lingering in the street waiting for Papa Smurf to finish vomiting (not a quick operation with a big white beard), clashed with a group of rowdy Where’s Wallys, and a nostalgic childhood memory turf war ensued. I made a hasty exit.
I can’t imagine what my reaction would have been in were I in his shoes. If I had never heard of Halloween and one night I saw a hoard of zombies leaving the pub, I would probably tool up and aim for the head. For all I know. I’d probably shit my pants.