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I always envisioned St. Valentine to be a kind and gentle old Roman, probably with a wispy white beard and a warm smile, akin to the image of Santa Claus, only without the reindeers and yearly obligation to deliver presents. I imagined the origins to be a beautiful tale of gigantic romantic proportions filled with honest, wholesome affection, littered with happiness, joy and love.

How wrong was I…

Stone the bugger!

One of the many suspected St. Valentine was apparently a temple priest living in the 3rd century AD. The poor lad was executed near Rome by the anti-Christian Emperor Claudius II on Feb 14th. Why? He helped Roman soldiers to marry when they were forbidden to by the Christian faith at the time. Like an olden day Cilla Black.

Oh, and Claudius might have gotten pissed off with ol’ Valentine because the Saint refused to renounce his faith (and might have tried  repeatedly to convert the emperor). In an act of extreme temper tantrum, the emperor ordered St. Valentine to be beaten with clubs and stones and beheaded. Stroppy like the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland.

Blood, milk and gore…

Another story says it was Pope Gelasius I who dedicated Feb 14th to St. Valentine in the 5th century. He apparently chose to combine St. Valentine’s Day with the traditional Roman feast of Lupercalia, a pagan fertility festival popular at the time.

The pagan fertility celebration included all kinds of seedy, violent and odd rituals – mixing blood, milk and gore with a lot of alcohol. Some of the fun activities people go up to during the celebrations included:

  • Sacrificing goats and dogs, and then having the blood of those animals smeared with knives on the foreheads of two youths, who were obliged to laugh and wipe the blood off with wool dipped in milk. 
  • Whipping young women with  hides of the sacrificed animals, which were then stretched and made into thongs. It was believed that this would make them fertile and improve the birthing experience. Makes sense to me.
  • There was a matchmaking lottery, where young men would draw the names of women from a jar. The couple would then be, let’s say, hooked up for the duration of the festival, or longer, if the match was a good’un.

Unsurprisingly, the church was very keen to get rid of these weird traditions with something a lot more wholesome, so the festival gradually became a lot more tame. 

St. Valentine’s Day became a focus of attention and gradually transformed as the years went on.

It’s sexy time

So, although you might associate Valentine’s with exchanging love notes and stuffing your face with heart-shaped chocolates, its roots are a lot more raunchy.

And what do we do at DeadHappy upon discovering that Valentine’s Day started off as a story of x-rated proportions? We delve into the naughty locker to find some of the raciest, rudest and risque deathwishes. I just hope no one at work is monitoring my search history.

WARNING: For adult eyes only

Gotta love an overestimation

I want my ashes to be made into a dildo. So I can disappoint her even when I’m gone. The dildo MUST not be any bigger than 7.5 inches. Otherwise she will wish me off herself.

Nice to know there’s options

He’d pay off our mortgage. Or hire loads of prostitutes, whatever.

You’ll probably end up looking a bit like Pinocchio when it’s cold

Tattoo my face on your breast (nipple for nose).

Lots of sniffs instead of sniffles…

Get new underwear….you are going to need them as i want all your current underwear in my coffin…..used!!!!!

Is that a question or a statement?

I’m a perv and I don’t care. Put your underwear in the coffin with me and use the money to buy new. Bra over eyes please??

Ah, yes… the famous imperial measurement ‘fuck ton’.

For my wake – Strippers. Fuck tons of strippers. Male and female.

As long as you’re fine with that.

At my wake, I want a fire breathing stripper(s) but depending on the venue, I’ll be fine with fire eating burlesque.

I wonder who should do the audition process

I’d like it to be carried down the aisle by muscular men wearing just speedos. Big bulges essential.

Reading this got you in the mood? For deathwishes that is…

Create your kinky deathwish

Ultimate acts of love

According to Buddha, “Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy when they speak or act.” What a wise bloke. In celebration of Christmas and a time of giving, we’ve racked our selfish, human brains to find the nicest, most selfless things you can give.

A cuppa and a chat

Put the kettle on this Christmas and have a chat with someone you love. It’s always a good time to talk about mental health and any concerns you have. 1 in 4 people are affected by mental health problems in their life. That’s someone in your family, or in your car, or who sits opposite you at work. Or it’s you. There are great resources out there if you don’t want to talk to someone you know. Check these out:

Death cleaning

The new year is coming, and it’s time for life admin. The Swedish have a word for it: döstädning. It means ‘death cleaning’ and it’s how the Swedes take care of the future without them in it. They clear out their crap to make life easier for their loved ones when they die. We’re not wishing the ultimate demise on you of course, but having your admin sorted can give you an incredible peace of mind and have you enjoy your life more. Tried and tested.

Inspired? Then chuck out your chintz and make room for the stuff that matters: like life insurance. We believe life insurance is the ultimate act of love and the best thing you can leave behind. Much better than a creepy clown statue, anyway.

Your time

Without being preachy or anything, your time is a precious gift. Just because you can’t put it under the tree doesn’t mean it can’t be the perfect present. Find a cause that makes your heart sing, like giving to a food bank or volunteering with a soup kitchen, and give your time generously. It’s what Buddha would have wanted.

A meaningful gift

Whether it’s a, erm, toy built in your image, or sending your mates on a holiday to Ibiza, you can make a unique deathwish with DeadHappy. Not a nihilistic suicide quest, but a statement of your deathly intentions – an expression of your final wishes. We ask one question: what do you want to happen when you die? Then it’s up to you to decide what you want, and get it insured so we can make it happen.

Ready to start

Twixmas, Christmas hangover, New Year’s Eve-eve – whatever you call it, that weird week between the last bite of roast potato and pretending you know the words to Auld Lang Syne can be a bit, well, dead. No one knows what day it is or what they’re supposed to be doing.

Just like the rest of this year has been, really…

But this month we’re coming to the rescue: we’ve compiled some of the best things to do to keep you occupied once the batteries run out on your new gadgets and before you want to kill your family.


Binge on a boxset

We love telly. Becoming one with the couch and building a blanket fort are compulsory. Why not get stuck into a dead good boxset?

Some of our death-inspired faves are Six Feet Under, The Good Place, and After Life. If you’re feeling less morbid, stick with The Muppet Christmas Carol and just skip the spooky bits.


Go outside (if you’re allowed…)

Contrary to popular belief, the outside world still exists. Somewhere, beyond the curtains and trail of biscuit crumbs, is a frosty winter wonderland waiting for you.

Check out your local walks, parks, runs, hikes and get some fresh air. It makes the celebratory hot chocolate afterwards even better.


Stay indoors (nothing new here then)

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire? Count us in.

If going outside isn’t on the cards, stay inside and start a new hobby – they’ve been proven to increase feelings of wellbeing and boost your mental health, which can only be a good thing in the longer, darker months.

Try journaling, rating your favourite tea bags, coding, knitting, or whatever makes you happy.


Plan ahead

There’s never a good time to die. According to the latest 007 movie, there’s No Time to Die, and if Bond says it then it must be true. And dying between Christmas and new year would be inconvenient at best. So before you die, because, FYI, you eventually will, make sure you’re prepared with the Swiss army knife of life insurance. DeadHappy life insurance plans let you plan for tomorrow while paying a cheaper rate today. Happy days.

Last Christmas I gave you my… radish?

Ah, Christmas. A time for peace, love and snacks. Lots of snacks. We went rummaging in the internet’s Christmas box to find you some of the best global traditions. But under the tinsel and slightly cross-eyed fairy, we found some of the best examples of weird Christmas stuff you’ve hopefully not heard a thousand times before. So settle down with your preferred festive beverage and get comfy.

Here’s our top 5 weirdest Christmas traditions.


Yule Lads

No, not The Inbetweeners Christmas special. The Yule Lads, or Jólasveinarnir, are 13 Icelandic sprites that visit lucky – or unlucky – children on the 13 nights leading up to Christmas. Every night, kids leave their shoes by the window to receive a gift if they’ve been good, or a rotting potato if they’ve not. Our favourites are food-meddling Skyrgámur (Skyr-Gobbler) and Bjúgnakrækir (Sausage-Swiper).


Mari Lwyd

Christmas is inherently creepy. Most traditions involve bargaining with a stranger for presents or moral issues. Mari Lwyd from the Welsh valleys is no different. This Pagan-inspired creep-fest involves a frankly terrifying hobby horse with a HORSE’S SKULL ON A POLE carried by someone hidden under a cape. The horse-spirit visits people’s houses and asks to be let in – but not by asking, but through singing. The householders have to refuse them entry – also through song – and then some kind of sick rap battle ensues until the Mari Lwyd is allowed into your house or not. Give me tuneless carol singers any day.



Just when you thought dying would get you out of visiting the family at Christmas, in Indonesia – they come to you. In Manado, North Sulawesi, Christmas starts early on December 1st and carries on until the first Sunday in January. During this time, families visit the graves of their loved ones, giving them a good hoover and laying fresh flowers, fairy lights and generally hanging out with snacks and drinks. We bet they don’t get roped into the annual game of Monopoly though.


Veganuary starts early in Egypt

Think you’re being virtuous by going vegan in the New Year? Sorry, health and wellness fans, Egyptians have beaten you to it by doing Vegan December. Vegadvent? We’ll come up with a better name. Coptic Orthodox Christians in Egypt follow a strict plant-based diet throughout the month leading up to Christmas, called Kiahk, before celebrating Christmas on January 7th. And they don’t even post on Instagram about it.


Noche de los rábanos

We always save the best ‘til last. South America has so many awesome festivals, including celebrating their dead as well as their pineapples. But this is a Christmas blog. In Oaxaco, Mexico, traditional nativity scenes come with a nutritious, village-fête twist. On December 23rd, the people of Oaxaco come together to create scenes of Mary, Joseph and Jesus et al., from radishes. As in the tiny salad vegetable. First introduced to Mexico by the Spanish in the 18th century, the special little veggies found pride of place in nativity scenes in 1897 when the Mayor of Oaxaco, Francisco Vasconcelos, began a competition to pick the best veggie nativity.

Some honourable mentions that you’ve probably heard before:

So there you have it. Five unique Christmas traditions to inspire your own annual leave. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Kwanzaa, Saturnalia, or just not being at work for a few days, we hope you have a lovely time. Create your own weird traditions.

Happy Christmas from DeadHappy x

Leaving money for a pet.

Since introducing deathwishes to the world, we’ve seen over a whopping 120,000 created to date! Some are thoughtful, caring and emotionally charged, some are weird and wonderful, some are incredibly imaginative and some are just plain crazy. We welcome them all.

One trend we’ve noticed is a growing number of deathwishes which are related to beloved pets. I thought it might be interesting to show you some later, but firstly let’s look at some of the most famous legacies, last will and testaments left by some animal obsessed peeps.

I knew you were Trouble

Hotelier and so called ‘Queen of Mean’ Leona Helmsley left $12m to her Maltese pup Trouble when she died in 2007. That’s $12m more than she left two of her grandchildren, who were not surprisingly, pretty pissed off!
They contested the will in court and the judge ruled to cut Trouble’s inheritance down to $2m, awarding $6m between the disinherited grandchildren, the rest going to a charitable trust.

Trouble became both wanted and hated, obliviously receiving numerous death and kidnapping threats (resulting in a personal bodyguard being employed) for the four years that she outlived her owner, passing in 2011.

Rumour has it, against the law, the two were secretly re-united in a privately owned mausoleum.

Sounds like an episode from the Kar-dachshunds

In 2010, socialite Gail Posner, left her mansion (later sold for $8.4m) and $3m in a trust fund for her pooch Conchita and her canine sisters Lucia and April Marie.

Each dog had their own room in the mansion and travelled to the pet-spa every week in a gold Cadillac. It’s worth noting that $27m was left to her house staff, under the understanding that they would continue to look after the spoilt pups. A move which led to legal action by her son (who only received $1m), contesting the will, claiming conspiracy.

Apparently Conchita loves shopping, ‘wears a diamond collar from Tiffanys and likes to sleep in a cashmere sweater.’ Sounds like a diva to me.

Clucking Hell!

Miles Blackwell and his wife were well known for their caring of animals after setting up the Tubney Charitable Trust in 1997. Sadly in 2002 the couple died, just weeks apart. Miles, a publishing tycoon, who died shortly after his wife, had already laid plans to leave £10m to his favourite pet, his hen Gigoo. I imagine she lived an egg-tremely lavish lifestyle.

Puss in Loots

Ben Rea, a reclusive millionaire antiques dealer, decided to ignore his family in his will, instead opting to give almost his entire estate to Blackie, his remaining feline companion from a group of 15. £7m went to the lucky mog, and most of the remaining estate was split between 3 cat charities, with the instruction to care for his beloved kitty.

Meow Bella

After being rescued off the Italian streets at the age of 4, Tommasino the moggy, a former stray, was left $13m (partly cash and also 3 properties) by its owner Maria Assunta, a childless widow of a Italian real estate investor. When Maria’s health began to deteriorate, she began a search to find someone or an organisation to look after her feline friend. After the search became fruitless, she decided instead to transfer all the funds to the new-minted meowionaire after her passing in 2011.

Barking Mad

Californian prune rancher Tom Shewbridge left 29,000 shares in a local electric company to his two dogs Mac and George in 1958. The dogs regularly attended stockholders and board of directors meetings for years after his death and were obviously seen as important steakholders.

All the lonely doggies

Eleanor Ritchey, heiress to the Quaker State Oil Company, left her $4.5m fortune to her 150 dogs, who she adopted as abandoned pooches, when she died in 1968.

The will was contested, and in 1973 the dogs received an inflated $9m. By the time the estate was finally settled, its value had jumped to $14m but only 73 of the dogs were still alive. When the last dog died in 1984, the remainder of the estate went to the Auburn University Research Foundation for research into canine disease.

A different kinda cat house

Animal lover Jonathan Jackson died around 1880. In his will, he stated that “It is man’s duty as lord of animals to watch over and protect the lesser and feebler.”

His further instruction was to leave money for the creation of a cat house. A place where the cats could enjoy human comforts such as bedrooms, a dining hall, an exercise room, an auditorium to listen to live accordion music (do cats like accordion music?) and a roof designed for climbing without risking any of their nine lives.

Every dog has its day!

Dorothea Edwards, having died at the age of 80, left instructions with her family that her pacemaker be donated to an animal. Although legally in the US, a pacemaker cannot be transferred from person to person, there is no law that can stop the transfer to an animal that has a cardiovascular system.

So who would the lucky beneficiary be? The answer is; Sunshine, a 9½-year-old German Shepherd mix who had had a pretty woof time of it.

Sunshine was adopted by neighbours Cindy and John Wren when the dog’s home was raided by SWAT and the occupants were arrested for running a drug and prostitution ring. Her owner turned out to be Number 2 on the FBI’s Most Wanted List!

After that, the Wrens tried to rehabilitate the dog, both physically and mentally. But in 1998, Sunshine had lost her way, lost her appetite and began fainting often. Medical examinations revealed that she had a congenital heart defect and required a pacemaker to be surgically implanted.

After several unsuccessful procedures, Dorothea’s life saving legacy (a brand new, state-of-the-art pacemaker) was attached to Sunshine’s heart, the surgery a complete success.

What a beautiful story! Wonder when the film will come out?!

Material boy

In 1991, German Countess Karlotta Liebenstein left $80m to her canine companion Gunther III, on his passing the fortune went to his son, imaginatively named Gunther IV. His caretakers invested the dogs funds in various things over the years, ballooning the $80m to a barking $372m!

Named the richest pet in the world by Guinness World Records, Gunther IV has his own personal maid, eats caviar daily and owns mansions around the world.

He was listed as the buyer of Madonna’s Miami mansion in 2000. The sale was part of a publicity stunt involving a mystery buyer group called Gunther Corp and was bought for Gunther to share with a ‘multimedia’ musical group called The Burgundians.

Nope, never heard of them either. Something smells a little fishy here.

Got the purr-fect idea for your own animal inspired deathwish?

At DeadHappy, we have hundreds of thousands of deathwishes made by our customers. And while most of us haven’t got the millions to leave to our pets, maybe this has inspired you to think about ‘who’s going to look after my adored pooch, moggy, pig, hamster, snake, tarantula, goldfish or tortoise when I’m gone?’ (because let’s face it, they’ll outlive all of us).

Well, we’ve got your covered there as there’s a deathwish for that.

Love them or loathe them, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are upon us like Jabba the Hutt’s cackling little mate on our shoulder, egging us on to buy crappy bits of plastic or worthless tat for our loved ones… What could potentially redeem us from such impulse buys?

Well, Giving Tuesday of course! The international day of donating, volunteering and doing other good deeds, like helping an eldery lady across the road (socially distanced of course), whether she likes it or not.

Giving to charity

Here at DeadHappy you have the option to leave a charity legacy when you die as part of your deathwishes, and if you lot were as generous in life as you are in death I’m pretty sure I’d never have to buy a pint in a pub again… Ohhhh, pint in a pub, remember those days…

Our generous customers invoke images of Mother Teresa by ‘deathwishing’ around a whopping £150,000 of cash over the last 2 months to charities that mean a lot to them – from animal sanctuaries to children charities to environmental issues – you guys have it covered and we thank you for your eternal kindness.

It seems that celebrities are also more willing to give their fortunes away (and wouldn’t trust their teens with a trust fund).

# Giving Tuesday celebrity 1

Bill and Melinda Gates

Worth a fabulous 112 billion according to Forbes, have promised most of their fortune to charity. Along with others they created and signed the Giving Pledge, which encourages celebrities and the super duper rich to donate their cash to charity.

# Giving Tuesday celebrity 2

Michael Bloomsberg

Former New York mayor, has also signed up to the Giving Pledge, “If you want to do something for your children and show how much you love them, the single best thing, by far, is to support organisations that will create a better world for them and their children,” I’m sure his kids are ecstatic about that…

# Giving Tuesday celebrity 3

Daniel Craig

Finds the idea of inheritance “distasteful”. He once said, “My philosophy is to get rid of it or give it away before you go. I don’t want to leave great sums to the next generation.” I’m hoping he gives it all to the ‘Jaws Foundation’, a charity set up to help those with metal teeth… (yes, I just made that up.)

# Giving Tuesday celebrity 4

Joan Crawford

The actress died in 1977 and left nothing to two of her four children, “It is my intention to make no provision herein for my son Christopher or my daughter Christina for reasons which are well known to them.” Oo-er, the highest level of the ‘I’m so disappointed with you’ telling off. Instead, the famous actress left her money to charities like the Muscular Dystrophy Association of America, the American Cancer Society and loads more…

# Giving Tuesday celebrity 5

Kirk Douglas

The most famous celeb death charity donation recently has been Kirk Douglas. Who left it all to the Douglas Foundation, which is committed to helping those who might not otherwise be able to help themselves. None of his children, including Michael Douglas, received a penny. I’m sure he’ll be alright though with his measly 300 million.

Keep on giving

So keep on giving peeps, not only will it potentially get you a seat next to your fave god in the afterlife, it’ll save your kids, or your mates’ kids, from being spoiled trust fund divas with no clue how to survive in this big bad world of stuff.

Explore deathwishes

The ultimate karma bomb!

Anything slightly anarchic really gets our blood pumping here at DeadHappy so when we read this deathwish from the vigilante TJ (identity protected – because quite frankly, we wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise for anyone) we just had to get in touch.

The little rebel had this to say:

‘So he was my boss at the last pub I worked at and he was the most arrogant man on the planet who would just mope about spreading his misery and gloom everywhere. He treated the staff like slaves and he was better than just about anyone! Honestly if the queen visited he would have expected her to curtsey to him.. He was a knob. He hated any guests with an allergy, or kids, or elderly family members. The man was a total penis. That’s when inspiration hit!

Penis…. Glitter?

Glitter Bomb!

Penis glitter bomb ?

If the man is going to act like a colossal knob then upon my death bed I shall have my revenge with an explosive bomb of penis glitter’

We can see the ex-bosses face now TJ, also when they’re still picking penis glitter out of their tea a month later, it’s just the deathwish that just keeps on giving.

Deathwishes don’t have to be about money – although that does help get stuff done. Deathwishes were created by DeadHappy to get people to think about what they want to happen when they die.

Once you’ve created one, share it. Don’t keep it a secret!

Fancy showering someone in glitter when you die or have another brilliant insurrectionary idea?  We really, really want to hear about it.

Connect with your inner rebel. Create an awesome Deathwish, you know you want to.

Vive la revolution!

What’s this festival called and what is the translation?

Día de Muertos (also called Día de los Muertos) means the Day of the Dead. In reality it spans two days, and the real emphasis is on the Noche de Muertos (the night of the dead) when the souls of the dead are said to come for a visit.

When is it?

1st and 2nd November.

Where does Día de Muertos take place?

Mexico, and throughout Latin America – but its popularity is growing, not least because of the striking imagery of the sugar skulls and films like Coco, so it’s now common to find people holding Day of the Dead-themed parties in the US and Europe.

What happens during Día de Muertos celebrations?

Imagine if, when someone died, it wasn’t “goodbye forever”, but “see you in November”. That’s the central idea of Day of the Dead: the curtain between the worlds of the living and the dead flutter, and the dead slip through for a visit. In Michoacán, where I went to research my book, they see an arrival of butterflies shortly before the Day of the Dead. They announce that the celebration is about to come, and many people believe they are the souls returning.

How did it start?

Day of the Dead began as a monthlong Aztec festival, celebrated around what we would call June. But when the Spanish invaded, they forced it over to the dates of the Catholic All Saints and All Souls days in a colonialist attempt to pass it off as the same thing. Now, on 1st November, the souls of the angelitos come to visit, the ‘little angels’, meaning children and the unmarried (virgins, basically ––you can just see a little bit of Catholicism peeping through, there). The second night sees visits from the souls of adults. In practice, everything melds into one big celebration; families come together, and much as when living relatives come to stay, everything has to be perfect.

The sight of cemeteries

The cemeteries are an incredible sight: every grave is carpeted with marigolds, lit up by candles and watched over by families sitting up all night by the tombs, wrapped in blankets. It’s solemn in the graveyards, but it’s not a solemn occasion. Everywhere else it’s a fiesta, an overt celebration of life.


The nucleus of the Day of the Dead is the ofrendas, the offerings for the spirits. People build altars – in their homes, in shops, and enormous ones in the town squares – often decorated with marigolds and pictures of the deceased, but the most important element is the food and drink for the spirits, who arrive hungry and thirsty (if you’d like to build one at home, check out our how-to guide). Jamie our guide in Michoacán told me:

“When we put down ofrendas, we’re inviting the dead to visit. You can invite anyone you’re thinking of. They will come. And just remembering them is to ask them to come.”

What should I expect from Día de Muertos?

In the graveyards, a stunning display of candles, marigolds and families quietly having a lovely time. Also, expect way more tourists than you’d like, many of them rather rudely clicking photos in the faces of people nodding off at 4am. And, as with anywhere beautiful and tourist-heavy these days, there will be drones.

Outside the graveyards, expect an all-night party. The zócalo (town square) will probably have a stage and huge speakers blasting out music until late. Expect lots of eating, drinking, and general merriment.

What shouldn’t I expect from Día de Muertos?

An early night.

What can we learn from this festival?

When I visited Mexico to research Day of the Dead for my book, at first I found myself feeling sad. An American tourist asked if people believe the dead are really visiting, literally, and Jaime answered that they do. I was still bereaved after finding my father-in-law dead after a week the previous year, and I found myself wondering how I was supposed to get anything from the ritual of welcoming dead relatives when I couldn’t bring myself to literally believe in it.

Ghosts and spirits

Which is my way of telling you I quite spectacularly missed the point. For my fellow cynics, atheists and party-poopers, I have an important message: Day of the Dead is not only worth the trouble if you literally believe in ghosts and spirits.

Here’s the thing: when someone dies, they leave for good; and rather inconveniently, the love you have doesn’t go anywhere. You’re stuck with it, sitting inside you with no outlet – which hurts, because, as Massive Attack so astutely pointed out in their 1998 song Teardrop, “Love is a verb, love is a doing word”. And as I visited more festivals for the dead, read about death rituals and interviewed people across multiple countries and in multiple languages, I began to realise the point of it all: Day of the Dead brings the dead to life simply by giving action to the love that remains. Welcoming a dead person for a visit, pouring them a drink, leaving them a snack; it’s about giving your love something to do, someone to care for, and somewhere to go.

Your legacy will live on long after you’re gone. And although death is still seen as taboo in our society, communicating about how you’d like to be remembered  can make a difference to those around you.

Express my wishes

Horror movies to keep you trembling this halloween

There are certain classics we like to reach for during the spooky season. The Shining, IT, Carrie, The Descent… You name the horror film, we’ve probably seen it (no seriously, that’s a dare). But let’s face it horror fan: among those glistening diamonds, there are quite a few ugly rocks. To save you even more heartbreak this halloween (damn you 2020), we’ve put together a list of 5 top horror films to keep you company. Enjoy!


Dark Water

Japan is our go to place for paranormal horror films. The land of cherry blossoms brought us The Grudge, The Ring and the best of them all… Dark Water. Icy calm and eerie with and undercurrent of sadness seems to be just the right recipe for a perfect ghost story.

The only downfall? We’re afraid we’re running out of places to stay when we finally visit Japan. Whether we’re talking of comfortable homes adorned with shoji screens or apartment blocks, they’re currently both out of the question.


The Ritual

If The Blair Witch Project married the Wicker Man (and yes, we’re talking of the original, not the remake), The Ritual would be their baby.

All we’ll say is: grief and guilt in the depths of misty Scandinavian woods. Oh, and a peculiar creature some of us might recognise from ‘The Witcher’. But definitely not any bees (sorry to disappoint, Nicholas Cage).


Train to Busan

Who doesn’t like a good zombie movie? Yes, you’ve probably seen it all before. Cramped quarters? Check. A likeable group of characters? Check. Bloody, bite-y chaos? Check. Will it stop you from you giving it a go? We hope not.  After all it’s a zombie film. And a good one at that.


Haunting of Hill House

Ok, so it’s not a horror film. It’s a Netflix show. And a long one at that. Prepare to dedicate 10 hours of your life to it, but boy is it worth it…! A Halloween binge watch perhaps?

Growing up in a haunted house can leave some ghosts lurking at the back of your mind. Both literal and metaphorical. Eventually, you’ll just have to confront them. Just… beware of the bent-neck lady.


The Crow

This has to be our favourite superhero movie of all time. After being brutally murdered alongside his fiancée the day before their wedding, Eric Draven rises from the grave and assumes the gothic mantle of the Crow, a supernatural avenger.

A gothic feel, epic guitar solo and a fantastic final performance by Brandon Lee. What more could you want?

We might not be able to reincarnate you into an epic crow just yet (we’re working on it), but there are other things people can remember you by…

Make a deathwish

Why toffee with apple, and other Halloween traditions explained

Oh, sweet Halloween. We’ve been waiting to get sexy with you since last October. Netflix has released a new batch of horror films. Halloween candy has become a breakfast staple. We no longer have to explain why we’re wearing a vampire cape while shopping for loo roll. Oh yeah baby, come and rattle my bones.

But not everyone’s a Halloween fan. In an unscientific survey of the first 10 people we could find, it seems 70% of the world doesn’t care much for toffee apples. So why does a perfectly pleasant fruit become drenched to inedibility every year?


Toffee apples

Fair enough, they’re a dubious joy.. Don’t expect a bounty of toffee flavours like the homemade stuff your Aunt would make. The toffeeness is merely a reference to the boiled sugar, minus the dairy ingredients that…well…make toffee nice. The US doesn’t even use the word ‘toffee’, replaced by the more accurate yet sinister sounding ‘candy’ apple (but only because anything with a reference to candy reminds us of Candyman and needing to sleep in your parents bed for a week.)

It’s all the fault of one William W Kolb; a real-life Willy Wonka but with a slightly less amusing surname. Frustrated with the progress of his new cinnamon candy potion, he decided to take a break with an apple in hand. Said apple having dropped into said potion, Kolb knew exactly what to do. Some cheap polypropylene wrapping and a cute little ribbon later, the toffee apple was born. Kids loved them. Dentists despaired. Kids won.


Trick or treating

OBack when Halloween was just finding its feet in the UK 2,000 years ago, people would dress themselves in dead (hopefully) animal skin to ward off unwelcome visitors and ease the passage of their loved ones to the mythical land of Samhain.

Later generations liked the dressing up bit, but the whole dealing with the undead was a bit too creepy. So instead young women would go door-to-door doing tricks with yarn, fruit and mirrors.

Impressed fellas would be bagged as husbands, was the plan. It’s hardly the stuff of Derren Brown, and nor does a decent sleight of hand seem the basis for committing to a lifelong relationship…but then we gave history “Married At First Sight”. So glass houses n’ all that.


Pumpkin carving

“Away to bed or the Jack-O’-Lantern will have you,” was the inappropriate warning of rural Irish parents to their petrified children. Mr O’Lantern – street name Stingy Jack – was doomed to roam the Earth with only a hollowed turnip to light his way, having come out second best in a bit of a to-do with the Devil. Never wise.

Turnip became pumpkin; and every year since, the little hollowed heads light up while pumpkin baked goods fail to capture the imagination.

The truth behind Stingy Jack is a naturally occurring phenomenon where fluorescent gas is emitted from peat bogs at night. But why let a bit of hard science get in the way of giving your kids mild trauma.


Bobbing apples

Increasingly skeptical that rubbish magic was the way to find true love, the early 1900s saw unmarried ladies go bobbing for apples instead. Once out of the water, the apple would be peeled in one strip (not with their teeth, we presume), thrown over the shoulder, and land in the shape of the letter of the young chap they were destined to wed.

So, immediately we see a few problems with this idea…


Nut cracking

October is a mental time for nuts. They’re falling off trees and conking on heads everywhere. And where there’s nuts, there’s a shit game to be played. Like nut cracking. Just sit a couple in an open fire and see which cracks first. Or hisses. Or glows.

By all accounts, Robbie Burns was mad into a night of “The Oracle of The Nuts”, as they called it back then. All sorts of predictions could be made from the winning nut; impending fortune or the arrival of a new lover.

Other times a lone nut would expose a cheating spouse or the presence of a dead relative. Alas the arrival of central heating put an end to fire-induced nut cracking. Our loss.



The movies. All nine of them. And the two they’re going to make. In a dark room, with only a creaking rocking chair, in a cabin, in a deserted wood. By yourself. With no electricity or phone signal. The nearest village is at least five miles away. Beyond a deserted asylum. If you get past the bogland. Where the ravaged skeletons of no-longer definable animals squelch up from their watery graves.

Some traditions are waiting to be made! And if you’re sick of Halloween (the movies), there are other films to keep you shivering through the night. Just check our list of top 5 horror films.

So what have we learned about this deathly festival of Halloween? Well, you can be shit scared of it and hibernate until November rescues you. Or you can take a happier approach. Just like with death itself.

Here’s how