Monthly Archives: October 2015

Haunting beyond Halloween

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When I came to university, one of the things I was sure I would be doing was creating and witnessing extravagant and fanciful costumes for various fancy dress events. As true as this has proved to be, I didn’t expect to be confronted with a garish and offensive array of characters and costumes.
It’s true, we all love a good reason to dress up and Halloween is as good as any other, particularly with the added element of being scary but this should not be an excuse to be offensive. It is important to think about others around you before diving into the charity shops and joke shops for ideas.
“Mental patient” is not an appropriate Halloween costume for example. 1 in 4 people will experience mental health issues at some point this year. Now imagine you are or have been a mental health patient. Imagine someone has just taken the one thing you think worst about yourself and transformed it into a Halloween costume to scare or even humour people. The chances are, you will know someone who has suffered, is suffering or will suffer from mental health issues, so it is important to take into account how they may be feeling when they are reminded of the horror it can cause. Eating disorders and Mental Health Issues are big problems in our society today that do not need to be celebrated and paraded around our streets as a joke.
Equally, Halloween should not be an excuse for casual racism. Terrorism and refugees do not make for funny jokes. Halloween is meant to be a lot of fun and you simply can’t display the horror of these situations in a fun yet tasteful way. It isn’t right to take truly awful situations and turn them into a mockery even if it is just for Halloween. Halloween may only be one night, but people will remember what others decide to go as.

Halloween is, like any other party or holiday, a chance to let your hair down and have a bit of fun, but it should be a time everyone can enjoy, rather than going through the night feeling on edge or even personally attacked. It is often impossible to know what people are going through or have been through beyond the surface of their everyday costume of life so it is important that Halloween costumes are not promoting unnecessary offence. Dressing up as a sex offender or even ex-sex offender probably isn’t the fun night out some people were looking for.
I would encourage everyone to think carefully about costumes this year as they hit town adorned in sheets, bin bags and fake blood. Is this something that could be a real issue to someone? You don’t want to be the one making people uncomfortable or being the party ender rather than the conversation starter you intended. Admittedly, not everyone wants to see a street full of slutty cats and drunk students wrapped in toilet paper and originality is always sought after in costume ideas but I believe people should think about those that could be victims of or experiencing the situations and characters you are trying to convey. Halloween is a chance for a bit of fun, not a chance to display and condone everything that is currently wrong with our society.
I hope you all have a fantastic Halloween this year and I have no doubt that there will be some truly scary, funny and extravagant costumes that will keep us all talking for weeks after, my only hope is that we won’t be talking about them for the wrong reasons. I wish you all the fun in finding and creating your grand designs but maybe just spare a thought for those around you as you delve into the gory, the fantastical and the just plain weird. 🙂

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Don’t just do, enjoy!

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After a pretty chilled summer, it seems everyone had been running full pelt in to second year of university. What I want to know is when did all of life get so fast paced?

Last week, I was discussing who I might want to live with next year over a couple of drinks in the pub, the next morning I was sent a list of houses to shortlist. Last night I didn’t have housemates, now I have housemates, houses and viewing times and it’s only week four. What must the freshers be thinking when they’re practically all still strangers arranging to live together?

And all my friends that seem to be getting engaged, I mean, congratulations but I can’t even commit to a phone contract right now. People I was friends with last year are now in high flying careers and starting families and I don’t even have time to make dinner. But I’m happy exactly where I am. In fact, part of me wishes I could be right here forever without ever really entering the real world. Why does everything have to happen right now?

I used to think that I needed a plan. I needed to know what I was going to do with my life and when it was all going to happen. Then I realised just how much I was enjoying life just the way it is, and who am I to say that that’s no going to continue no matter what might happen?

Yes, it’s fair to say, it’s been an incredibly busy start to the term and when people ask if I’m getting enough sleep, I often think sometimes when I sneeze my eyes close and wonder if this is an appropriate response, but, there have been some really encouraging things going on. Sometimes it feels like we’re always just running around without much cause but last week we had a Text for a Toastie event in the Christian Union. Now, this is a fairly self explanatory event in which people Text in (with a question for the CU) for a toastie. Last week 135 people texted in. That’s 135 people and their flatmates that we got to talk to about Jesus. We also got into some heated debates about sexism in the Bible and started a new Bible study course on campus.

And yes, heading down to OneSound tonight, I am very grateful for the chance to come home and take a step back from the craziness that is university at the moment, for just a couple of days, and I can’t wait to see all of my friends again. It’s great just to be able to stop for a minute but the truth is, life doesn’t wait for anyone and it’s time to start enjoying it wherever you’re at. Right now, I don’t have time to be thinking about big plans for my life, but I do have time to be enjoying what I’m doing now, because that’s the danger – we do so much and forget to enjoy it. This term in church we’re doing a series on pausing and praying which I think is great but if you are ever feeling slightly overwhelmed with the business of life, don’t just do what you do, but leave time to enjoy what you do too 🙂