Conspiracy theorists were having a field-day when observing agog the brethren and their friends arriving in unconventional alternative regalia at the Masonic Hall, Blackpool. No doubt fiercely agitated by the spooky apparitions that they had seen, their conclusion could only have been that something highly sinister was afoot within the walls of the temple of doom or that Count Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, the Munsters and the Addams family had all, simultaneously, decided to become Freemasons. There you have it in a nutshell. That was the picture.
The terrorised observers’ conjectures were, of course, 100% off target. There was no voodoo twaddle, demoniacal drivel, satanical bunkum or worshipful monsters; there was nothing more sinister than that it was the evening of the last day of October, the traditional annual festivity of Halloween and the strange and eerie apparel of the brethren merely the costumes of jaunty revellers.
Despite lashings of blood and gore and a grave concentration of witches, ghouls, vampires, zombies and equally intimidating weirdos, fun and jocularity was very much the essence of the evening. Integrating into the setting of cobwebs, arachnids, tombstones, skeletons and supplementary trappings of Halloween, the partygoers immersed themselves into the full vein of horror, along with adequate proportions of merriment.
No macabre sacrifices or rituals took place. No cauldrons boiled and baked. There was no ‘eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog, adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting, lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing’; just good wholesome Lancashire hotpot and cabbage red, served piping hot with fresh baked bread, rounded off with apple tart to warm the cockles of the heart. It was good honest sustenance that put good honest partyers in the right mood for monstrous fun, aided of course by a few special brews.
Organised by rocky horror showers Rory Maskell and Stan Hill, lively music (including of course the inevitable Let’s do the Time Warp again and the Monster Mash), ghoulish games, popular prizes, devilish dancing and general revelry ensured a highly enjoyable event for all the spooky attendees. And it was lucrative. In the true spirit of Halloween among Freemasons, the proceeds from the evening will be disbursed between the Blackpool Masonic Building Fund and Manchester Children’s Hospital.