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Halloween: A Week of Idiocy and Indignity

November is at last upon us. But before we embrace the new month let’s just take a minute to think about Halloween and whether it really is a celebrated tradition or just another excuse to lose your dignity on a night out.

Halloween typically involves carving pumpkins, apple bobbing and trick-or-treating; activities that I believe should be dropped the moment you turn 14. You no longer look cute demanding candy when you have a sorry excuse for facial hair and your outfit is no longer bought from the supermarket. Rather you just took off a couple of layers.

This year we just had one trick-or-treater knock on our door and really it’s more of a trick-or-treat for them. A child knocking on the door of a student house is hardly going to be threatening. Egg our house? Go on then, it will match the mould on the wall. Squirt fake blood at us? We’ve already got plenty of ketchup stains on the floor, no biggy. You want sweets? I can literally offer you a granola bar and some frozen peas.

After the trick-or-treaters have been kind enough to take our coppers in their pumpkin buckets it’s time for the students of Nottingham to turn ferral. Walking through Lenton after dark is scary enough on a normal night without the added ‘wolves’ howling, screaming nurses and bloodthirsty zombies who are unable to stand up unaided.

This however, is not just a once a year occurrence at university. This scary, drunken revelry takes place over a week. Every club is maximising their profits during Halloween by opening their doors to a greater number of students, staying open for longer and providing us with insane drinks deals.

The week of Halloween is not just full of red-eyed students at night, but also the next day in lectures. This seems rather full on as I can’t think of a single person who genuinely celebrates Halloween for the feast that it is. It just seems to be an excuse for students to behave more idiotically by getting all next-level with their pranks and to drink far more than is socially acceptable in order to keep raving until six am.

As such a highly anticipated and advertised event, it also makes students a lot more susceptible to becoming victims of crime. Burglaries increase overnight, and what one person takes to be a ‘slutty nurse’, another might see as an easy target. Coupled with more than a few drinks the scantily clad student populace become even more vulnerable. Favouring my dark chinos over a lace corset I value both my safety and dignity.

To be honest I’m glad it’s all over, not that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy four nights of Thriller, but it’s a celebratory time of year that can easily get out of hand. Plus all the face paint and markers did my skin no favours in keeping it clear. I won’t miss the bloodstained boobs look that so many students seem to favour, nor will I miss those freaky horse masks. Here’s to the next big event of the year, with hopefully slightly less zombie and slightly more elf.

Photo: Caitlin Monahan (Flickr)

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29 Comments on this post.
  • Anon
    2 November 2013 at 16:06
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    I can understand heavy drinking (or clubbing at all :P) isn’t for everyone of course, but you sound really judgmental. Must be a right laugh at parties…

  • Anon
    2 November 2013 at 16:11
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    Surely you’d rather students were celebrating halloween for fun rather than genuinely worshiping Satan….

  • anon
    2 November 2013 at 16:20
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    I agree with the first comment. Also, to imply that a girl who wears a corset has no dignity or regard for her own safety is beyond rude and could even be seen be considered anti-feminist – ironic as I imagine you were intending the opposite.

    Really very thoughtless.

    As an unrelated side note, an editor should have spell-checked this.

  • Anon
    2 November 2013 at 16:43
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    Referring to your comments about ‘slutty nurses’ and the danger associated with it; wearing less clothes does not mean any loss of dignity nor should you imply (and it would appear that you are), that if you do appear ‘scantily clad’ then you are essentially asking for it. If that were the case then why are there incidents of assault of women in burqas? All your comments seems to be doing is perpetuating rape culture and victim blaming.

  • anon
    2 November 2013 at 17:15
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    ‘Easy target’?? I’m sorry for holding the belief that if someone wants to dress ‘slutty’ that’s their right and anything bad that happens is the fault of the perpetrator.

  • anon
    2 November 2013 at 17:16
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    I think this runs close to perpetuating the lie that a girl is ‘asking for it’ by what she wears. You are not more or less worthy of dignity and respect based on your Halloween costume. Or any outfit. Ever. Get your boobs out? Fine. Not get your boobs out? Also fine. Dignity isn’t something you give or take away from someone based on what they choose to wear.

  • Anonymous
    2 November 2013 at 17:16
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    hugely unimpressed with your comments about what girls wear being related to being an “easy target”, or their safety. a girl wearing a corset isn’t “asking” someone to rape her. what youre saying seems distasteful and pretty unrelated to the rest of the article.

    • Sian92
      2 November 2013 at 20:42
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      I take it that the people who are taking offence and calling themselves “anon” coz they’re not as brave as Pollage to be identified are those that are guilty of exactly what the article is talking about?

  • Krish.
    2 November 2013 at 17:49
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    Sweet jesus, how have the other comments got so aggressive so quickly. Halloween is a super commercialized, irrelevant Holiday that just gives people an excuse to dress up and waste money and you articulated that perfectly. Plus why is it okay to make comments like “rather than actually worshipping satan” what if people just agree with Satan more than whatever else. Freedom of religion still exists. I for one enjoyed this article.

  • Anonymous
    2 November 2013 at 18:24
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    *feral. You may be thinking of Will Ferrell.

  • Sarah fisher
    2 November 2013 at 18:32
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    What a great article. At last someone brave enough to speak some common sense – which in my experience isn’t that common. Nottingham needs more people like you. Great article

  • Sian92
    2 November 2013 at 18:38
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    What a refreshing set of thoughts. Interesting observations and I couldn’t agree more. Spot on!

  • anon
    2 November 2013 at 21:00
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    Too right. Let’s be done with this tacky American import (yes I know the Pagans started it but I doubt they wore ridiculous costume and trick or treated) which overshadows Guy Fawkes’ Day – a proper holiday which is 1000 times better thanks to sparklers.

  • Lucy
    2 November 2013 at 21:10
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    These anon comments are ridiculous. For those of you jumping on the ‘easy target’ line, let’s actually take a look at the sentence, shall we? “Burglaries increase overnight, and what one person takes to be a ‘slutty nurse’, another might see as an easy target.” In no way does this perpetuate rape culture or imply that anyone is ‘asking for it,’ it’s actually doing the opposite by raising the very true point that there are people out there who will try and take advantage f a ‘scantily clad’ girl. Jesus Christ.

  • anon
    3 November 2013 at 00:48
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    No matter how many of the writers friends comment messages of positivity and ‘support’ it still doesn’t really change all of the things wrong with this article, which comes across as anti-feminist and just plain judgemental (I wanted to say bitchy but thought it might ruin my point).

    • Paul
      3 November 2013 at 10:30
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      You judgemental hypocrite how dare you say that. You make bold assumptions that show you only for the ignorant coward you are. Too scared to be identified? Anon? You people are like school bullies throwing stones and then running away. Get a life and grow a pair whilst you’re at it.

  • The Grinch
    3 November 2013 at 17:14
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    Christmas is almost upon us. But before we embrace the next couple of months let’s just take a minute to think about Christmas and whether it really is a celebrated tradition or just another excuse to lose your dignity on a few nights in and out.

    Christmas typically involves mince pies, christmas crackers and stupid hats; all things that I believe should be dropped the moment you turn 14. You no longer look cute giving out candy when you have a sorry excuse for facial hair and your outfit is no longer bought from the supermarket. Rather you just put on a few fake pounds while pretending to be an obese old man.

    Last year we had one Christmas caroler knock on our door and really their singing is for their own enjoyment than it is for us. Tiny Tim knocking on the door of a student house is hardly going to be threatening. Sing a song? Go on then, it will hardly make the sound of my housemates puking any quieter. Help the poor? We’re the poor, daddy only gave an extra 5k in pocket money this term, no biggy. You want to share happiness? Learn to sing and stop annoying me while I’m getting my pre-lash on.

    After the Christmas carolers have been kind enough to take our coppers in their snowflake buckets it’s time for the students of Nottingham to turn ferral. Walking through Lenton after dark is scary enough on a normal night without the added ‘Santas” ho-ho-hoing, screaming sexy Santa’s helpers and annoying elves who are unable to stand up unaided.

    This however, is not just a once a year occurrence at university. This scary, drunken revelry takes place over the whole last week of term. Every club is maximising their profits during student ‘Christmas’ by opening their doors to a greater number of students, staying open for longer and providing us with insane drinks deals.

    The week of Christmas is not just full of hats and outfits, but red-eyed students also the next day through what lectures are left. This seems rather full on as I can’t think of a single person who genuinely celebrates Christmas for the feast that it is. You know about that Zombie who came back from the dead and now we are supposed to ritualistically eat his flesh and drink his blood. It just seems to be an excuse for students to behave more idiotically by getting all next-level with their pranks and to drink far more than is socially acceptable in order to keep raving until six am.

    As such a highly anticipated and advertised event, it also makes students a lot more susceptible to becoming victims of crime. You know most of them go home for real Christmas leaving their student accommodation easy targets for burglaries. Not to mention witnesses expecting a fat man to be breaking into houses to leave Christmas presents for one and all. What one person takes to be a ‘slutty Santa’s helper’ sitting on Santa’s lap for laughs or conveniently placed mistletoe, another might see as an easy target. Coupled with more than a few drinks the scantily clad student populace become even more vulnerable. Favouring my dark chinos over a red Santa’s helper dress I value both my safety and dignity.

    To be honest I’ll be glad when it’s all over, not that I won’t thoroughly enjoy weeks of ‘Last Christmas’, but it’s a celebratory time of year that can easily get out of hand. Plus all the glitter, cheap hats and fake beards will do my skin no favours in keeping it clear. I won’t miss the sexy stockings look that so many students seem to favour, nor lame Christmas jumpers. I won’t miss having to pretend to be happy at Christmas ‘presents’ nor will I miss having to give people useless presents that they don’t want. Here’s to no more events this coming year, with no more smiles, happiness, gifts nor charity. When will it all just end?

    • Jack Revell
      4 November 2013 at 00:32
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      This is far better than the original. Can we give the Grinch a column?

  • Matthew Styles
    3 November 2013 at 20:38
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    What on Earth?

    ” What one person takes to be a ‘slutty Santa’s helper’ sitting on Santa’s lap for laughs or conveniently placed mistletoe, another might see as an easy and deserving target.”

    ‘easy target’ ash been debated, but you seriously want to say that someone *deserves* to be raped based on what they wear? That’s plain sick.

    “Favouring my dark chinos over a red Santa’s helper dress I value both my safety and dignity so consider yourselves slut shamed Santa’s sexy helpers.”

    ‘consider yourselves slut shamed’? I see now. It’s cool for a guy to sleep with lots of girls, but not vice versa.

    I’m not a leader of a feminist movement, nor should I be given that I am a man, however to me your view on the acceptability of rape seems incredibly ff the mark; it is never acceptable or ‘deserving’.

    • The Grinch
      3 November 2013 at 21:42
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      I trust from the context of my comment and the subject matter that it is obvious, or should be that I was engaging in satirical hyperbole. I’m extremely happy that you actually challenged the above because that was the whole point. Such words and subtext are and should be repulsive to all of us, whether feminist or not. I’m also pleased you picked up on the subtext since nowhere in my comments did I mention rape, but it was readily apparent. The original article included such derogatory statements as saying that those who dressed in

      ‘what one person takes to be a ‘slutty nurse’, another might see as an easy target. Coupled with more than a few drinks the scantily clad student populace become even more vulnerable. Favouring my dark chinos over a lace corset I value both my safety and dignity.’

      The claim that those who dress up for Halloween don’t value their ‘safety or dignity’, that they could be taken to be ‘slutty’ or that they are somehow making themselves ‘easy targets’ is obviously attributing blame to women where it should not be. My ‘slut shaming’ point was included satirically because that is what the article above unfortunately does. It doesn’t matter what a person chooses to wear or not wear it is no excuse for them being victimised. Your criticisms equally apply to the article which is plain wrong and if it takes a comment in the comments section to highlight that then I’m more than happy to have been of service. When will the offensive comments be edited out of the article?

  • Robert Smith
    3 November 2013 at 20:54
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    The words ‘deserving target’ have now been removed.

    They were not part of Pollyanna’s original article, and why ‘The Grinch’ decided to add them into his response is unfortunate (and offensive).

    Essentially it ruined what was quite an ironic take on how most of the criticisms of Halloween can equally be made of Christmas.

    • The Grinch
      3 November 2013 at 21:59
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      I decided to add them into my response to highlight why so many people appear to find this article to be unfortunate and offensive.

      No ill will is meant towards Pollyanna or yourself Robert, but the mention of ‘slutty nurses’ being ‘easy targets’ and then the passive aggressive criticism that the writer values “safety and dignity”, as if the majority of students don’t? Or as if they are somehow to blame for being attacked?

      I think if those comments were re-worded or removed the article would be very enjoyable instead it is unfortunate and will no doubt continue to be criticised.

  • Robert Smith
    3 November 2013 at 21:01
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    As can be said for the second part, which now has also been removed.

    • The Grinch
      3 November 2013 at 23:41
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      I want to clarify that I don’t want or expect the comments that so many, including myself, have found offensive to be censored by the blunt instrument of someone other than the original article writer. Like my comment was. I’m a proponent of free speech and I would prefer for the original writer to consider the criticisms and to modify if they feel that it would help us all to better understand their intentions. I think there is a chance that it was included completely unintentionally. If they refuse to do so then that is their choice and others are welcome to disagree with it.

      • Robert Smith
        4 November 2013 at 00:10
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        Agreed. As a firm believer in free speech, I would rather have not censored elements of your comment. However, I think it was reasonable to remove a phrase such as ‘deserving target’, even though your comment was made as satire.

        • The Grinch
          4 November 2013 at 10:52
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          It is extremely difficult to debate and to explain the point that was being made in my original post due to the fact that it has been censored and edited. I completely understand why you Robert and the Impact team did so, but it’s really unfair for such to be taken out of context. In debating it I’m not even sure whether I am even able to repeat the comments without them being removed and to do so completely divorced from the original piece has the potential to give completely the wrong impression.

          As for the ‘asking for it’ debate as referenced above and included in numerous comments, the Oxford learners’ dictionary defines that term as meaning:

          ‘to deserve something bad that happens to you or that someone does to you’

          http://oaadonline.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/dictionary/ask

          The words ‘and deserve’ were removed from my post, which was another way of wording the criticism and debate that began surrounding the article’s implication that those who dress a certain way are somehow to responsible for being attacked. I think that was an extremely unfortunate undertone to the article and one that I have no doubt it was unintended by Pollyanna yet it remains.

          As for the second point censored and removed it was a reference to “slut shaming”. Anyone familiar with the literature would have immediately recognised this not as being an attack on women but a commentary on the slut shaming that is apparent in the original article. It highlighted and criticized it. By removing the reference all those who actually know what the term means, who would have immediately realised that the comment was ironically exaggerating the article will likely miss that point. If you want to learn more about the term and what it means the following Wikipedia article explains it succinctly.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slut-shaming

          ‘Some examples of behaviors which women are said to be “slut-shamed” over include: violating accepted dress codes by dressing in sexually provocative ways, … or being raped or sexually assaulted.’

          It is explained further in the Wikipedia article as follows,

          ‘Jessica Ringrose has argued that it functions among women as a way of sublimating sexual jealousy “into a socially acceptable form of social critique of girls’ sexual expression.” Some also use this term to describe what they call victim blaming for rape and sexual assault, e.g. by stating that the crime was caused (either in part or in full) by the woman wearing revealing clothing or previously acting in a forward, sexual manner, before not consenting to sex, and thereby absolving the perpetrator of guilt.’

          From reading the Halloween article above it should become obvious why I made reference to ‘slut shaming’. I’m not actually aware of any person who openly admits, ‘I am slut shaming you’. The reason why I included it was to make explicit the criticism that was intended. Removing the term appears to show a misunderstanding of how it was used. What is ironic is that numerous references to “slutty” have been left in both my comment and the article.

          It is a shame that in censoring and cutting you’ve actually left untouched most of the problematic aspects that the comment was deliberately exaggerated to highlight. You are volunteers doing your best on a student newspaper and I completely understand why you both posted the article and took the decisions you did. If this article and debate raises awareness about how ‘slut shaming’ is wrong then we’ll all collectively benefit as a result.

  • Ellie
    4 November 2013 at 10:21
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    The author should be ashamed. What a shambles of an article. You’d get a lot more out of uni if you spent more time trying to get on with people and socialising than you do slagging them off in Impact. Trust me, uni will be over before you know it.

  • Emily Tripp
    4 November 2013 at 18:16
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    Just a note from the Editor- Impact does not have a policy of editing comments, this was the result of a mix up. We’re sorry this has happened, but it is not common practice.

  • Sian92
    4 November 2013 at 23:44
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    Well done Pollage. 28 comments – you’re a genius. Like it or loathe it – you have caused a good debate. Respect to you. Don’t be put off – it’s all good even though some don’t see it that way. May be they’re just bitter for some reason.

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