What, there’s such a thing as Halloween adverts now? For ‘party food’ and kidult entertainment and the kind of clothing, masks and other shit that is designed to be bought, worn once and thrown away. Yup, Halloween adverts are a thing alright.
Where next? Pentecost adverts? Clock Going BACK adverts? Cupcake and Cunnilingus Day adverts? Advertising is great at finding new reasons for us to buy stuff – we do rejoice in an era of the Afternoon Snacking Market, for example – and Halloween is just another reason to convince people to buy pointless junk.
Think I’m overstating this? Google ‘classic Halloween advert’. There is the odd one, all American. There aren’t any old British Halloween adverts because Halloween was a hollowed-out turnip and some kids at your door wearing their nan’s old coat in exchange for a toffee. Women dressed like tarts? Adult Halloween parties? Halloween Tesco adverts? These things never happened in the recent past.
My brother told me that some of his students – people who are legally allowed to vote – hugged and wished one another ‘Happy Halloween’ on 31st October. Think that’s fucking ridiculous and kinda depressing? Well blame advertising.
However a relatively new element driving the commodification of every single area of your life is the rise and rise of social media celebrities, bloggers and vloggers – all of whom are desperate to make money or at least get free shit from covering every conceivable aspect of a brand’s marketing activities.
Look on Youtube and Instagram, to name but two, and there are dozens of videos and images about some pictures the supermarkets have released of biscuits that look like ghosts, cakes that look like ghosts and various other foodstuffs designed to make your kids’ teeth fall out of their mouths several years early.
Here’s an example where a young man who sounds halfway between bored and constipated drones through a few sort-of facts and ‘I can’t remember’ costs relating to some plasticky shit that Morrisons is selling, with precisely three pictures of said shit and a voiceover that sounds like a hostage reading a transcript against their will.
Here’s another and it’s not without skills on show but get past the adverts and the CGI intro and you have someone walking around a supermarket literally describing what they’re seeing, wielding a vocabulary that probably doesn’t reach three figures.
I watch these with feeling that include but are not confined to pity, contempt, annoyance and genuine wonder. Above all, however, a feeling of unease that something has gone wrong. It’s bewildering to me seeing the way people react to adverts for Halloween, the utter crap that we’re encouraged to buy and the uncritical way people appear to lap it up.
And then we have these mindless, weirdly popular, blogs devoted to getting free bits of plastic and discussing them with the descriptive powers – and stamina – of a bison. Supermarkets have become our bingo halls, pubs, libraries, holiday destinations – and now even workplaces. It’s as if the physical, mental and conceptual limits of these people extend only to their nearest Tesco.
This is what is truly terrifying about Halloween these days – the pointless and quite appalling consumption of plastic, nylon and sugar that has been elevated to the closest thing to employment many of these bloggers will ever get.
And what will they have to show for it? For all the baroque, sensual and thrilling pleasures promised by Halloween marketing they show us shaky videos of them turning over baubles as if they were arcane artefacts in their overlit asylums, full of people haunted by how utterly mundane it is, in a perfect evocation of their lives.
And their sad homes, temples to stuff, packed full of orange textiles, green plastic and pumpkins because Halloween.
Our planet has been turned into a giant machine for creating junk and when we are all gone the monument to the human race will be a plastic cauldron atop the biggest construction humans for which humans will ever be responsible. A towering pile of shit.
A rundown of what appears to be Halloween adverts season.
Asda Halloween advert
Asda – feed your kids enough Halloween food shit and something like this will probably happen to them.
Sainsburys Halloween advert
An insane clown mask with a load of exposed chest cavity details? Why not go the whole hog and have a Fred West outfit?
Lidl Halloween advert
Lidl, where cheap shit is even cheaper than usual.
Aldi Halloween advert
The Aldi Family. In fairness I have visited Aldis that looked less inviting than Cemetery Lane.
Tesco Halloween advert
Throw a party for your awkward friendless kid this Halloween. If you don’t you’re a bad parent, but not in a Morticia Adams way.