I love this time of year. I realise I’m not alone in this – who the hell doesn’t like golden leaves and wearing coats, after all – but as a horror writer, consumer, and all round nerdboy, this is the best time of year. Suddenly the shops are full of skulls, kids are looking doubly cute in their attempts to frighten us, nature does its annual ‘make everything look magical’ thing, and the telly schedule is full of horror films and documentaries. Magic. Not only that, but writer’s Xmas (NaNoWriMo) is just round the corner, forcing us all to be vaguely sociable for a few weeks.

But it’s not all good news. No, because what the grim reaper giveth, he also taketh away. We can’t be allowed to have such unadulterated joy. No, I’m not talking about the darker nights or the sudden plunge into perpetual cold – dark is awesome and heat is overrated – I’m talking about the great plague of this month of October.


Now, I like a carved pumpkin as much as the next person. They’re great. The delight on my son’s face yesterday as he showed me the weird alien creature he’d carved into the flesh of a squash plant was lovely to behold. They look cool. I get it. Also, fire. I just wish the carving didn’t leave my house smelling like a decaying horse.

When the hell did pumpkin become the smell of October, and why the hell didn’t anyone stop it? Was there some kind of meeting somewhere, in some marketing hell-hole deep within the Starbucks evil mountain lair, where some bright spark said ‘let’s make all our products smell of old-man-feet’? I just looked at the menu for my work’s canteen on Wednesday, and in honour of Halloween they’ve added the taste of rot to every single item on the menu. Given that I have to spend at least half an hour in there, someone remind me to take a gas mask in.

Everywhere you go, someone is adding pumpkin to foodstuffs like social media organisations like to add Nazis, and with much the same result. It’s awful. A blight. And it’s ruining my favourite time of year.

And don’t think I can’t see you there, sharing your love of pumpkin spice lattes on social media. I see you, and I judge you. ‘I know what, let’s take coffee, mankind’s pinnacle achievement, and ruin it with the taste of feet.’ You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

Roll on November, when everyone comes to their senses and casts this hell-taste back to the lowly dungeon where it belongs.

Happy Halloween, everyone.

Blood on the Motorway: An apocalyptic trilogy of murder and stale sandwiches is out now in ebook and print from Amazon and all other good bookstores. You can get the first book free by joining my mailing list or read along at Wattpad. Oh, and I’ve got a Patreon.

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