Doing Halloween As An Adult

Here’s the thing: Halloween as a child is one of the most awesome nights ever. But since you got older, the only way it has been socially acceptable for you to enjoy All Hallows’ Eve is by wearing a slutty nurse uniform and getting off with blokes who you hope are a little less ugly underneath all that Incredible Hulk body paint. It goes like this until you have children of your own (shudder) and then you just walk around with a bunch of five-year-olds in a supervisory capacity, making sure the neighbourhood pervert hasn’t inserted razor blades in to his Haribo.

As I’m reluctant to spend the 31st October being groped again and, as thinking about my biological ticking clock is like having a wasp stuck in my head, I’ve decided to reclaim Halloween for my own again. Yeah, you might think a fully grown 30-something year old woman walking around with a swag bag, chirping “trick or treat” is a little weird – but let me explain the joys of doing Halloween as an adult…

Being Part of a Gang

Remember when you were a kid and you and your friends were the coolest gang around? It didn’t matter that you were the runty slightly-bullied member of the group, you felt proud as you all walked down the street, dominating the pavement, shouting all the new swear words you learnt that day from the kids in Year 10. Adult trick or treating can give you that same feeling of belonging. Obviously you can’t do this sort of thing on your own, and I’d advise against tagging on to the back of a group of 10-year-olds, so you’re going to have to find a gang. Perhaps your friends of yore (who have now settled down and have babies) might be a bit reluctant to do this, but you’ll have other friends who entertain that level of crazy in you. Go with that mate who once went to a wedding dress sale with you – despite the fact that neither of you had plans to get married (this bit was fine; having a scrap with a real bride-to-be over “your dress” was not.) Go get your Halloween Buddy, be free and rule the streets together.

Your Inner Fat Kid

Sweets! Sweets! Sweets! Oh glorious sweets! This is confectionary heaven. This is even better than the time you realised that there was a blind spot around the bit in Woolworths where they kept the Pick ‘n’ Mix, inviting you to fill your pockets up and stuff as many strawberry lances as you can down the front of your bomber jacket as you could.[1] Oh sugary goodness. The E-Number high. The fur upon your teeth. Embrace that inner fat kid you’ve tried to shake off since you became slightly obsessed with body image after reading Just 17. Your dentist can go fuck himself.[2] And, as an adult, your mum isn’t here to try and stop you eating them all in one go. Think of the street as your supermarket aisle, and the night as your very own appearance on “Dale Winton’s Supermarket Sweep.” Go go go!

Reviving Knock Door Run

What a brilliant game. How could you have ever forgotten it? Pick a victim’s door, ring the shit out of the doorbell and then run as fast as you can. It’s the buzz of the nervous exhilaration as your legs try to get you out of the vicinity as quickly as possible; it’s the stress of desperately trying to find a dustbin – or anything – to hide behind as you realise everyone else is peeling off and finding hiding stations; it’s struggling for breath as your could-be-fitter body convulses with immature laughter. Whilst it’s a gang game, it is sort of also an individual sport because, if you’re a weak runner, then wobbly Mr Warbuton with no teeth will spot you, gain on you and haul you back to his house where he’ll call your parents and keep you hostage in his fag-ashy living room with his incontinent one-eyed dog.

Doing this as an adult holds all of the same pleasure – with the added perk of being able to blame a group of innocent kids as they’re on their way home, biding by their curfew.

Being Nosey

Now to me, there’s no better perk of visiting lots of households than to have a bit of a nosey over the shoulder of the resident and to make some sharp judgments of their lifestyle and them as a person. If people don’t shut their curtains, then I’m bound to have a bit of a gawp in their window, taking a sharp intake of breath when spotting their hideous sofa cover. I like to call it natural human curiosity, and I’ve often thought about getting a job as a door-to-door saleswoman – and I can totally see the attraction for Jehovah’s Witnesses. But I digress. Trick or treating as an adult is the perfect way to either make yourself feel smugly superior – or like a bit shitting failure – as you get to see the hidden layers of the people who live on your street.

Gang Wars

Don’t for once think that you’ll have a monopoly on the trick or treating on your street. There will be others, mooching around with inferior costumes, trying to get sweets out of people before you’ve even got there. It’s your responsibility to defend your territory. Hey, and if it goes as far as igniting a gang war, then so be it. Of course that means entering in to a turf war with a bunch of ten-year-olds, but the real danger is bumping in to the twilight version of yourself; as in a weird version of that scene in Shaun of the Dead where they bump in to their doppelgangers as they’re trying to escape the zombies, there’s every chance you could bump in to another adult who has also made the decision to relive their childhood. DO NOT LET THEM STEAL YOUR CROWN. Pelt them with eggs, shower them with flour, and bombard them with water bombs[3] as you chase them around the back of the bus shelter, crashing them to the ground as you do a weird-never-before-attempted rugby tackle – after which you squash all the rancid strawberry creams in to their face, making them repeat after you, “I am a Halloween bumder.”

Revenge Tactics

There really couldn’t be any better excuse could there? I mean, that twat in the flat below you who plays his music way too loud, that woman a couple of doors down who moans about you not bringing your wheelie bin in, that bloke on the train who shoved you because he seemed to think he needed more space than you so you followed him home just to see where he lives. There couldn’t be any better targets. For these people, you don’t even pose the choice between “trick” or “treat”; you bypass the process, and go straight to bog-rolling their house and egging their door. Then walk past smugly the next day when you’re in your smart, adult work clothes, sniggering to yourself as you watch them all irate, gasping at the immaturity.

Falling Out With Your Halloween Buddy

Inevitably, it was going to happen… right? There’s me, off my tits on E-numbers, thinking I’m the Halloween Bees Knees and constantly upping the stakes with more immature prank suggestions. But really I’m just hyperactive and making a bit of a dick of myself. Which annoys Halloween Buddy a little bit. But, the thing is, she’s also being irritating, insisting on stopping to take Instagram selfies to prove to everyone that we had a really fun night, and you’re quite sure that she’s drunk more of her fair share of that bottle of whiskey we nicked from the first house of the night. So you start bickering, which turns in to a little bit of pushing and hysterical screaming and, before you know it, you’re on the floor on your arse and she’s pegging it off down the street with your bag of loot.

Halloween’s beaten you. Defeated, you remember that you’ve got a meeting first thing in the morning – so you traipse home with an E-number headache, feeling sorry for yourself, sniffling and muttering under your breath that next year you’re going to do Halloween with Fat Carrie[4].

And then you get to your flat… only to discover that your front door is caked in egg and flour, with the words “Halloween bumder” spray painted across it.

The. Fuckers.

[1] Yes, “invite”. I’d even swear that in court.

[2] And stop looking so shocked next time you say something like, “A Wham bar took my molar out.”

[3] You agree to draw the line at spraying silly string in your hair, though, as you’ve both got work tomorrow morning.

[4] She hates Fat Carrie. She’s actually quite jealous of your relationship with Fat Carrie.

Mardy Mabel’s Public Transport Archetypes: “The Train Prefect”

One of the most frustrating things which life has dished on to my plate recently has been a bout of increased train travel. Naturally, I’d rather stick hot pins in my eyes than spend such a huge portion of my life in the company of all of the irritating commuters who plague the buses, trains and tubes of our nation – so, in favour of saving my eyesight, I decided to go all Attenborough and undertake a behavioural study of these public transport archetypes. 

To start us off, this instalment looks at that loathsome commuter – The Train Prefect…


Hello everyone and thank you for joining this lecture on The Train Prefect. I’ve prepared us a nice overhead projector presentation to clearly illustrate the matter we’re dealing with here.

Hold on one second, just let me switch this on… *fumbles*… here we go…

*OHP bursts in to life and shows a picture of a ridiculously pompous man trying to fit himself on to a train which has absolutely no more capacity*

This, ladies and gentleman, is what is known as the Train Prefect. A species which matures during their school career where their ability to be good at both academia and sport is rewarded with a badge and the permission to be a sanctimonious twat. This type slowly develops over two years where the authorisation to pull other pupils up on running in the corridor, swearing in the canteen and doing hand-jobs behind the art block, provides them with a moral high ground and an automatic sense of superiority.

Upon receiving their GCSE results (which they would have passed with flying fucking colours), they’re released in to the wider world to live a life where the prefect ethos will always be at their core. As such sanctimoniousness is an abhorrent character trait, they learn to hide it well. But, beware, it can rear its ugly head at any point…

You might know someone in adulthood who you really hit it off with. Let’s say its Clare from work. Oh God, she’s a laugh, isn’t she? So witty and always up for a giggle; you two just really click. You’ve gone for after-work bevvies with her and you just know that, wherever you end up working, you’ll probably always remain friends. But then you have reason to get the train together – and, like a werewolf changing in the full moon, she’ll undergo an ugly metamorphosis which will make you question your judgement on anything in life. Remember: be careful, they walk among us.

So, you’ll be on the platform, and it’ll start with a few tuts coming from Clare’s direction. Which, you know, you can kind of understand because there’s some stupid cow sodcasting The Saturdays whilst rooting around in her cheap handbag, jabbing you with her bony elbows. Then the train will come along – and it’ll be absolutely rammed. Clare’s blood pressure rises as she grabs on to the train door handles and hoists herself up in to the train. There’s no room for her, clearly. And then, before you know it, she’s bellowing in self-righteous tones:

“Can you move down the train please?”

The bile begins to rise in your stomach as the horror that you’re friends with a prick of a Train Prefect dawns on you.

Then, as if by some sort of magnetism powered by twat points gained from possessing long-term travel passes, other Train Prefects appear, gravitate towards one another and rush in to support. Well, they’re actually technically Deputy Train Prefects – because they wouldn’t have ordinarily have had the guts to shout out in the first place, but are more than happy to put their two pennies in once a Train Prefect has set off the initial flare. These are the type of people who were only good at academia (not sport) at school, hence being slightly lower down the prefect pecking order.

So, anyway, the Deputy Train Prefects start chirping in, one by one, slowly gathering confidence, “Err yeah – move down the carriage.” Some of them even gallop down the side of the train, manically thumping on the outside of the windows like a foaming diseased from 28 Days Later, moaning the mantra in near-unison, “Move down the carriage. Move down the carriage. Move down the carriage.”

But the thing is… there is no room you short-sighted twats.

Granted sometimes there’ll be someone inconsiderately taking up the room-space of two other people as they stand in the aisle, idly flicking through their phone, pretending that they can’t see they’re in the way – but more often than not THERE GENUINELY ISN’T ANY ROOM. Can’t you see everybody has their face squashed uncomfortably up against someone else’s face, inhaling their dog shit morning breath?

There ensues some awkward shuffling from commuters as they try and accommodate the Train Prefect pricks who still can’t control themselves, smugly shooting out other comments like, “We’ve all got to get to work you know”[1]. This shuffling might allow one or two more people on to the train – and the Train Prefect will then stand there smugly for the rest of the train journey, thinking they’ve won the battle.

My advice? Don’t move. In fact, try and make yourself as big as possible by inching your feet out a little bit further, puffing your chest out and standing at an awkward angle with your elbows jutting out. Stand on that spot like a stubborn limpet just to prove a point. If possible, turn around and fix the Train Prefect with a dead stare. If the moment takes you, feel free to spit back at them, “Make me. And no I won’t go and eat my crisps in the playground”. I guarantee you that they’ll be so shocked that anyone has finally stood up to them that they’ll just stammering like a muted wreck. And maybe they’ll turn around and target someone else. Someone weaker. But if we all do this – yes, even you shy train types – then we can drive this species out. There’s power in numbers, my friend. And I’d do anything to see the Train Prefect extinct.


In the next instalment of Mardy Mabel’s Public Transport Archetypes we’ll take a look at “The Farter.”

Or maybe not. Someone else might have pissed me off more by that point…


[1] Which is then repeated by the murmuring Deputy Train Prefects.

Birthday Tantrums

I bloody hate birthdays.

I’m talking about my own birthday in particular here. Sitting awkwardly somewhere in between the loathsome fun-expectation of a new years eve and what I imagine is the heightened pressure and anxiety of your wedding day to go well[1], a birthday is so much more than turning a year older. A birthday is about the expectation to have the most brilliant day of your life. And why shouldn’t you? Your arrival in the world was supposedly one of the best moments in your parents’ lives – so why not carry on that celebration? Because life is, in a nutshell, generally shit and unpredictable – and age should have really taught you that by now. You bloody fool.

Personally I don’t really care about the age increase – that’s not the problem here – but every year I get so caught up in the hype of a perfect birthday (most of the hype self-induced) that, at some point during in the evening, it all comes crashing down, goes tits up… and the birthday tears start.[2] Recognising this pattern, I’ve tried to manage my own birthday behaviour, telling myself that this year I’ll do something low-key and I’ll have just as much fun. But inevitably it never sodding happens as panic sets in somewhere along the line, leading to one of the most interesting tantrums you’ll have seen that year. As a result I’ve become a big old Birthday Diva, with significant birthday wishes and even huger birthday meltdowns. Wouldn’t you just love to be my friend?

Let me show you how I get to this point every year in my…

…20 Step Guide to Birthday Boo Hoo:

1)    Be cool about birthday and organise something low-key.

2)    Start to gradually shed coolness as you anxiously check how many attendees there are on the Facebook invite.

3)    Think bad things about people because they haven’t pressed “going”, “maybe” or “not going” on the Facebook invite – despite the fact that you know you never normally do this either.

4)    Get closer to the day and panic about the party venue. Change the venue and confuse people.

5)    Whilst confusing people, start to get nervous about the number of attendees. Like a birthday scattergun you invite more people – totally ignoring whether this new bunch of revelers would make a good social mix or not.

6)    Start getting stressed about your birthday outfit. Nothing fits and you’re too fat for all the clothes which are now also too young for you.

7)    Arrive at birthday day. Feel a little disappointed at the modest amount of presents. Maybe there’ll be more later.

8)    Wonder why there aren’t any helium balloons following you around.

9)    Spend the day somewhere in between a weird post-present-opening anti-climax and a pre-evening-party state of nausea.

10)Focus the day on checking your texts and Facebook for birthday well-wishing.

11)Start to receive text messages from twats friends who can no longer come to your party.

12)This carries on in to the evening until you are at the party venue, three wines in, pretending you don’t give a shit about the mass exodus (when really you desperately do).

13)Suddenly realise there is no cake. Where is the cake and sparklers?

14)Go to the toilets to talk to yourself in the mirror and pull yourself together.

15)Despite best intentions, do a big old wine-fuelled birthday sob about the fact that no one has come, no one cares about you, you feel uncomfortable in this stupid birthday outfit and how can anyone expect it to be a proper birthday without cake and helium balloons? One of your friends will inevitably walk in and tell you that you’re being a dick – that everyone who matters is here, and you’re just too off your face to notice.

16)Word gets around that you were doing a Big Birthday Cry in the toilets. Some people are extra nice to you. Some people leave.

17)Get drunker and then traipse around doing more drunk crying. Out in the open. You’re too far gone to give a shit now.

18)Get bundled in to a taxi and go home to bed with your face all unwashed and mascara-stained.

19) Wake up the next morning with a massive headache and regretting that you did this in your birthday AGAIN.

20)Text all witnesses to apologise, and spend the day doing embarrassed winces as fragments of the night slowly come back to you.


Well it’s probably no surprise that the reason I am writing this is because I have another age-increase day coming up. How old, you say? A lady never tells her age… and coincidentally neither do I. Now, please excuse me, I must get on. I’ve only got a few days left and there’s around 50 people I need to panic-invite whilst unsubtly leaving a trail of post-it notes around the flat adorned with high-maintenance birthday hints.


[1] I say “imagine” because NO ONE HAS BLOODY ASKED ME TO MARRY THEM.

[2] Sometimes the tears are warranted, though – like the time when my boyfriend cheated on me on my actual birthday day. If there is anything the wisdom of 22 taught me, it was how to slap a man hard around the face with the venom of a birthday girl scorned.