Halloween’s scary fairies get thumbs down from exorcists

The spooky festival has become increasingly popular, but not with the Vatican

There was a time – and it wasn’t that long ago – when Halloween was a low-key affair, when the nation’s children donned cheap plastic masks and wandered the streets near their homes looking for monkey nuts and sweets from kind-hearted neighbours.

There is absolutely nothing low-key about it any more. Acres of shelf space in supermarkets have surrendered to the day of the dead since the last of the back-to-school stock disappeared in early September. Our love of the American way led to pumpkin shortages around the country this week as parents scrabbled for what was left in shops.

Unloved turnips

All this happened as glorious turnips piled up on nearby shelves unloved and uncarved.

The madness of the crowd came to a climax last night when tens of thousands of Elsas and Olaf's rubbed cold (or Frozen) shoulders with as many Maleficents, Ninja Turtles, mini-Draculas, blood splattered psycho-killers and scary fairies on their way to and from houses draped in fake cobwebs, plastic spiders, specially installed screeching doorbells and all sorts of terrifying decorations that put-upon parents feel compelled to erect.


Some of those parents went too far and Giant Spider Dogs were reported to be lying in wait for children, thanks to the viral popularity of a recent YouTube video which saw a man dress his dog up as a spider with terrifying consequences.

We gave the Americans Halloween, they have returned the gift in spades in recent years. Since the turn of the century, it has turned into a splurge-fest to rival Christmas.

"We noticed an increased interest about seven years ago but three years ago there was a surge in demand for all sorts of dresses and outfits," said David Ward, the managing director of Mothercare Ireland.

Occult activity

It is not just in Ireland that Halloween has lost the run of itself. So popular has it become across the world that earlier this week the Vatican’s first official conference of exorcists felt it necessary to call for it to be banned because it was causing a spike in occult activity.

Fr Aldo Buonaiuto, a spokesman for the International Association of Exorcists suggested it was the "antechamber to something much more dangerous" than harmless dressing up and bobbing for apples.

He said the association’s emergency number gets as many as 40 calls a day in the week leading up to Halloween, with most coming from parents concerned their children have become involved in the supernatural.

“Many say Halloween is a simple carnival, but in fact there is nothing innocent or fun about it,” Fr Buonaiuto said.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast