It was almost like I was taken back to my childhood – except I wasn’t. My Halloween childhood was the smell of burning turnips – no pumpkins for sale in supermarkets back then – and the threat of witches. These kids were dressed to the nines and their parents had spent big on their outfits. Witches, warlocks, ghouls, ghosts, Star Wars characters with light sabres, vampires, grim reapers, axemen, princesses of the night, cats, a robot, a moon and the cutest not quite three-year old girl pumpkin I have ever seen.
Of course I played my part, knife through my head and drooling blood. One group screamed and jumped back when I opened the door, the smaller kids just looked very nervous and quivery lipped. Apparently it’s healthy and part of the learning process for kids to be scared occasionally. So that’s alright then - conscience clean.
Most of the children were well behaved and very polite, but inevitably there were a couple of brats – well aren’t there always, cheeky little tykes. I only wish that my knife had been real so that I could have pulled it out and waved it at the little witch who repeated screamed that my knife was a fake, fake, fake, fake, fake, fake, FAKE!
Ninety-four children came to the door, running the gauntlet of pumpkins, their parents (many in fancy dress) standing at the gate watching on in various levels of wine induced oblivion. My wife had made up thirty bags of sweets and, with the frequency of our spooky callers, these were all gone by half-past six. She was pretty much on a sweet bagging production line, bagging sweets all night with no cupboard unrifled in the quest for confectionary.
The last trick or treater, a lone boy in a torn grey suit covered in dust, arrived at about nine. ‘Trick or treat,’ he mumbled. I’m not at all sure he was into the spirit of things. It was probably a last minute decision to come out and have a go; either that or he really was a risen spirit. I gave him his sweets anyway and he wandered off.
Then I blew out the pumpkins, closed the door, and drank myself to sleep. Well, you have to escape the evil spirits somehow.