It has been said over 2,000 years ago the Celts marked Halloween as the day that represented the end of summer and the beginning of the dark cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death.
Some however relate Halloween to superstition. They say superstition can be defined as an irrational fear of what is unknown or mysterious. I have always remained superstitious of clients and suppliers on events, at the beginning I am never too sure if they are going to play a trick on me or become a delightful treat to work with.
I am sure now as you sit there at your desk you can recall some horrors in your time in our industry, be it short lived or numerous decades full of experience. I hope you smirk rather than shiver at the memories! As we approach Halloween, we have recalled a few ‘heart in our throat’ event horrors where despite the elegant swan on the surface an event manager has been left bemused, speechless or sometimes scarred for life.
• Agents that take 8% venue commission then add on another 30% only to leave their costing sheet in the venue/hotel open for their client to see.
• Catering nightmares… a caterer serving pork canapés at a Bar Mitzvah (enough said) and another top London caterer serving the wrong course (twice) at a multibillion pound deal breaking company dinner.
• Hotels that over book their rooms and act as if they have no idea how this happened or better still newly checked in guests finding other guests in their room.
• First aid nightmares that give you the heeby jeebys! A memorable occasion: red wine vomit waterfall as two guests battled to be sick before one another, only to be rescued by a call for a first aid situation that included a Scot in a kilt with no pants crashing to the ground in a diabetic fit.
• Clients who think themselves ‘helpful’ in numerous areas such as putting an earlier event start time to ensure everyone is there ‘early’, only to leave their poor guests waiting 45 minutes outside the venue in the cold.
• There was once a man found in the toilets of a venue naked with his clothes folded neatly in a pile in the cubicle…try coaxing him out!
If us industry professionals were to don a suitable Halloween outfit this weekend that was not at all related to Halloween (as many of them are not) then I think a superhero costume would suffice.
As my client said the other night ‘It’s just easy isn’t it’ and I thought to myself ‘Yes you live the dream, and I attempt to rescue you from the nightmares’.