October 31, 2010

Hallowe’en Has an Apostrophe; or, Thoughts on Dressing Up

Without the slightest qualm about being labelled a killjoy or bore, I can safely say that I do not like, do not see the point of, and cannot wait to see the back of Hallowe’en. The ubiquitous lack of its customary apostrophe is enough to put me in a bad mood. What happened to it? It was there when I went to school, but is now lost. Are we so lazy? In any case, this is the minor quibble. The bigger problem is the excuse it gives to grown individuals to behave even more idiotically than normal. I would be as charmed as a snake if it was just the kids. I saw some really pleasant little tykes this evening, out accompanied by adults, and wanting nothing more than a handful of candy in exchange for doe-eyed cuteness. All power to their elbow. I only ask that when they grow up they, well, grow up.

I won’t labour the point. Instead I’d rather celebrate the kind of dressing up I like to endorse. While the West went mad for witches for a weekend, I went shopping for something rather more refined. The German appreciation for professional attire, even among academics, is putting pressure on my suit rotation, and it doesn’t help that two-thirds of my wardrobe had to stay in Canada. Airlines are increasingly enrolled in weight-watching programmes, much to the customer’s discomfort. So, a new grey flannel suit is now in my armoury. Nothing garish; nothing notable; simply a classic cut and fabric and minimal fuss. I trust it will repel the worst that Berlin’s winter will throw at me.

Most people have forgotten, if they ever knew, that dressing up everyday is a joy. Perhaps if we reminded ourselves once in a while that the fabric of life has a lot to do with fabric – the whole looking good feeling good bit, which is pithier than you might think – then we’d probably take a lot less relish in grease paint, pointy hats and, what seems inescapably to go with them, getting pointlessly drunk.


  1. Glad to see that you had a few gobblers; we sadly never had a single one. Silly German kids, this is a great tradition and they are missing out.

    Goodness maybe they should allow the school children to watch The Peanuts "The Great Pumpkin" !!!!

  2. Hello VB,
    Haven't posted for a while but you should know your blog remains a joy for me as always. Trick or treating on Halloween is just catching on here - unlike many aspects of American culture, its been a bit slow to develop but last night we had 3 groups of kids ring our doorbell. Cute!
    As for your observations on sartorial matters, I'm afraid we're trying to do you know what against thunder! However, I've heard the sartorial bar in Germany is higher than in most other countries, particularly in respect of casual attire. Do you agree? Whatever the situation, keep on fighting the good fight old man!
    Warmest regards, Ian.

  3. My dear Ian,
    Many thanks for your post. Glad to hear that you're still reading along. Germany still very much has a class system - much more evident than in Britain or the US, and Oz too (based on my limited amount of experience there). So the bar is higher for some, but not for others. It does rather force one to think every morning before donning threads. In any case, I just discoverd this place: McNeal - it seems to be Germany's answer to Gant, and would suggest an answer to your question in the affirmative.
    All best to you,

  4. I should have been you for Hallowe'en.

  5. Very drole my dear! I guarantee that you would have been the toast of whatever shindig you had the misfortune to attend, and the assembled guests would have hung their heads in shame.
    Thanks for linking to yours truly. And for the apostrophe.
    Pip pip!

  6. Naturally, read 'droll' for 'drole'. I wish I could edit comments.


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