There's nothing scarier than "Doctor Pumpkin - Dental Expert"...

Apparently, the week surrounding October 31st is the scariest time of the year. It’s Halloween, when ghouls and goblins and pathetic pretend pirates trudge soddenly about the streets, demanding food with menaces.

Spine-chilling, isn’t it?

Well, no. It’s not. Trick-or-treaters aren’t the scariest thing about Halloween.

Do you know what is?

The Scariest Thing About Halloween

It’s the copy.

Lurching from the grave, ridden with decay and swathed in the rotting burial robes of the bad cliché, Halloween copy strikes fear into the stoutest of hearts in a way that’d make the wolf-man blush.

Because, much like the implacable horde of zombies I’ve fortified my flat againsts (it could happen), there’s no stopping the hellish prose unleashed by the Halloween hacks.

So if you’re one of the lucky ones who’s avoided being haunted by these ghastly turns of phrase, turn away now. But if you’re one of the damned, take a deep breath, and see if you recognise any of these horrors from copywriting’s very own Necronomicon:

The Bestiary of Bad Halloween Copy

Hallowe’en with an apostrophe: Yes, there was probably a great reason for this spelling. In 1885. It’s not 1885. Piss off, pedant.

Spooktacular: Usually coupled with alliteration (“don’t miss our spooktacular savings!”), this one won’t die. Even if you shoot it in the head.

‘Terrifyingly’ wedged terrifyingly into straplines: Oh, you make terrifyingly good cakes do you, Mr. K? Or have you just iced a pumpkin onto a Bakewell? If you’re doing this, at least use ‘frightfully’ and lend an air of Victorian stuffiness.

Punnery: Puns are terrible at any time of year, but they’re particularly bad at Halloween. If you’ve honestly used “a broom with a view” to sell a hotel suite, you should probably go forth and multiply.

Tortured trick or treat metaphors: Finally, my personal pet Halloween hate. The trick to great writing is to treat your audience to something compelling, convincing or at least competent. Not wedge in hellish tortured metaphors.

So, what horrifying Halloween copy cliches send shivers down your spine? Share your thoughts in the comments section…

If you dare!


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