Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Apples, Halloween and merchandising

click photo to enlarge
A while ago I read that in the U.K., in terms of the public holiday "family spends", Halloween now comes second after Christmas. I was surprised, though on reflection I shouldn't have been because the evidence of this has been rapidly multiplying before my eyes for the last couple of decades. In early October many shops, including the obvious ones (greengrocers, florists, to etc) and the not so obvious (betting, clothes, newsagent etc), put up Halloween displays in order to either sell their associated merchandise or to catch the eye of passing shoppers. Interestingly, there is a single colour scheme that unites all of these  - orange and black. The former seems to come from pumpkins and the latter from the night/witches. And, each year the tat that is sold becomes ever more lurid. Witches abound, and so do skeletons, but they have been joined by Frankenstein, Count Dracula, severed hands, tombstones, spiders and cobwebs and all manner of "things of the night." This year I saw a gravestone that made moaning noises! It wasn't always thus.

I don't remember celebrating Halloween very much as a child. Moreover, that name competed with All Hallows Eve (the religious festival from which the modern event derives) as the appellation associated with our home-made turnip lanterns and mild attempts at spookiness. Today's jamboree that is the modern Halloween clearly owes the proliferation of pumpkins and "trick or treat" to our friends across the water, but much of the dressing up and "props" seems to be imported too. I'd be interested to know just how much the event has changed in the U.S. over the past twenty to fifty years. I suspect it has grown there too.

Today's photograph shows a few of our wind fall apples, the ones that we leave for the birds to eat over the autumn and winter. This image of decay seemed an appropriate one on which to "piggy-back" a few reflections on Halloween. It was the brightness of the recently fallen fruit against the wet, dark leaves that caught my eye, and I tried to emphasise this in my image.

click photo to enlarge

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 39mm
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/30
ISO: 800
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On