05 Nov ‘Allowheen
Whilst I will be the first to admit that the Italians do some things a lot better than us Brits, Halloween is not one of them.
I can also appreciate that Halloween is no more than an American atrocity, blown out of all proportion by fancy dress shops all in the name of making a few quid on overpriced fangs and fake blood, but be that as it may, it’s also a pretty flipping good excuse for a party. However, the Italians don’t seem to have cottoned on to this just yet.
With this in mind, my British partner in crime Rhiannon and I wanted to show the Italians how it’s done and decided to throw a party at my house on Wednesday night to celebrate, well, whatever it is that Halloween is meant to.
After convincing two Italians and one rather unimpressed Greek that no harm could come of it, we sent out some virtual invites and started plotting. Our only slight problem was that pumpkins here are somewhat harder to come by than in the UK, and in the weeks leading up to Halloween, I’d only come across one or two (rather sad-looking) examples in supermarkets around Turin.
On the day of the party, The Greek and I headed off on a last-minute pumpkin hunt, but found only three. Seeing as we had a whole house to fill, this wasn’t going to do, so we ended up having an arts-and-crafts morning to make Neil Buchanan envious, consisting of dripping wax over bottles to ‘age’ them, cutting out bats out of black wrapping paper, carving pumpkins, and then, in desperation, carving some oranges too. Well, you can’t say we weren’t imaginative, and at least we got some nice, fresh juice out of it too.
In the end, our plans came together rather nicely; some poisonous punch was mixed together in a giant plastic pumpkin, fake cobwebs were sellotaped to the doorways of my flat (as if all the real ones weren’t enough), hair was back-combed, faces were painted, and we were ready for the arrival of some guests, including our school friend and a friend of hers, who live in near-by(ish) Lyon.
The party itself went well; the punch was a surprising hit, particularly shocking considering that wine-from-a-box was one of the primary ingredients; and the majority of guests had committed to their outfits more than I’d expected (much to my relief, as I’d imagined a hoard of Italians turning up looking immaculate whilst I paraded around painted like a zombie).
Despite a large quantity of black confetti coating the floors of the entire apartment block and a few minor breakages and mishaps which now mean that we are enemy numero uno of the neighbours, the amount of mess in the flat the next morning definitely suggested that fun had been had by all, and in the end even the sceptical Greek gave Halloween, English-style, a solid 8 out of 10, which must mean that Operation Halloween Party was a success.