Halloween: a lesson in bad taste


Oh Halloween, a time we’ve all come to love, cherish and totally misunderstand the origins of. Unless, that is, you are one of those October scrooges who announces that they “don’t do fancy dress” and puts apples in children’s trick-or treat baskets. Or, you know, a druid. Then you can cancel out at least one of the above.


One thing we should all be thankful for is that Halloween is an excellent practice in identifying bad taste and, in fact, allows you all to see a tiny glimpse into the world of PR. So when you remind your friend that the edible meat skull centrepiece she is so delighted with may be a bit, you know, weird – congratulations, you have taken your first steps into reputation management. I like to think that this is the holiday when devilish PR professionals really let their hair down and go nuts – “Oh no, don’t be silly, it is more than acceptable to dress up in a sexy Cecil the lion costume, you look great!” But we wouldn’t do that because we’re all good eggs and that would render April Fool’s Day redundant.


Obviously, offence is not black and white; there are many shades. Sometimes parties themselves can just be wrong – my memory wanders back to a “bad taste party” I attended in Bristol which remains the only place I have seen male students dressed as twerking sensation Miley Cyrus and a whole host of mankinis take on such a synergy. However, some people can personally bring bad taste to a party, and this is normally the most dangerous – you recall that cautionary Halloween tale of Prince Harry and the Very Misguided Costume by JK Growling? For some reason, Halloween really has the edge on bringing out your inner PR disaster.


So this year, whilst we all paint our faces, don our costumes, watch movies that make us scared to go upstairs, or board up the windows and hibernate until the knocking at the door stops – remember this. When you choose your costume, decorations and amount of alcohol units, channel your inner PR guru, we believe in you.


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