I don’t generally do Halloween. Of course, as a youngster, I did the whole carving pumpkin thing – actually, that’s not strictly true: We were poor, so we carved swedes instead, (that’s rutabaga, for my Americanish readers – we didn’t carve faces into Swedish nationals!). To this day, the distinctive smell of candle-scorched swede is something that can take me right back to childhood in an instant. Since then, it’s not been something I’ve routinely done – although there have been one or two occasions that I’ve been called upon to demonstrate my artistic ineptitude by disembowelling the odd innocent vegetable in the name of Halloween. That aside, in RL my sole contribution to the festivities is to come up with increasingly more devious methods for avoiding marauding kids, and their horribly entitled parents, who think hammering on somebody’s door and demanding treats – or suffer the consequences – is a perfectly acceptable and civilised way to conduct oneself in modern society. Any other time we’d called it begging, extortion, harassment or blackmail!
Over here in Britopia, we used to do Halloween differently – it’s only in recent years that we’ve become assimilated into the American Dream and organised ‘trick or treating’ has become the norm, along with dressing up in pretty much any fancy dress that we happen to have lying around. Back in the day, we might have butchered a few vegetables, had some friends round to share spooky sleepovers and dressed up as witches – not so any more, unfortunately.
Before you accuse me of being a grumpy old bugger, (which, of course, I am), I should say that in the past few years I’ve mellowed a bit. Not in the real world – that would be preposterous – but online, inworld, I’ve almost embraced the Halloween spirit. It’s a festival that SL seems to do especially well – even if it does go on a bit longer than strictly necessary: Sims get decorated, spooky challenges, hunts and events proliferate, and if we needed any excuse to dress up and generally spookify ourselves, we have ample opportunity to do whatever we fancy in SL. It’s something that has appealed to me for some unknown reason, and these days I’m more than happy to join in the virtual fun – just as long as I don’t have to replicate it on the other side of the monitor!
However, this year I shall be letting the side down 😦
Previously, I’ve pulled out all the stops to Halloweenify my land – spooky music, cobwebs, freaky decor and things that go bump in the night… I’ve done everything from fear fairs to ghost trains, but I’m keeping things decidedly low key this year. The primary reason is simply that I’ve not had the time to plan, build and set anything up – to do so this time round would involve some major remodelling, and it’s not something I want to be burdened with right now. There’s also a slight element of competition… The standard of Halloween installations in SL this year is extraordinarily high – I’ve explored a few and, frankly, there’s no way in my own mind that anything I’d do could even remotely compare to the quality of some of the whole-sim experiences I’ve seen. I know it’s not a competition, and nobody is going to be judging my efforts, but in my own mind I know just how high the standard is, and it’s a level I simply can’t attain.
Although, I do wonder just how unique these places are. Of the many I’ve visited, there do seem to be an awful lot of very similar variations on a theme… That tunnel, taking you into an underground passageway; the rickety roller coaster and funfair; the haunted house; the abandoned playground with its ghostly children… Hmmm.
Even so, it’s been great fun exploring these places – a lot more fun than contending with menacing kids on the doorstep – and, for once, maybe I don’t need to wade into the fray: SL is perfectly capable of doing Halloween without my input!
Oh, alright then… If you insist! Here’s the deal – I’m not going to do anything inworld this time round – maybe next year – but you haven’t entirely escaped my horripulative clutches, because – as has become my habit – there will be a special Halloween story on these pages tomorrow. Don’t expect witches and goblins, that’s not my style – I probably read far too much Steven King in my younger days, and that’s permanently affected my sense of propriety.
You have been warned… Mwahahahahaha!
Oh please, oh please help me
Oh wonderful world
A passing dream
Oh wonderful world
Just passing fancy
The Enid – Something Wicked This Way Comes