Halloween is nearly upon us and, to my children, this means two things: dressing up and scoffing sweets. When laid bare, these two activities aren’t quite as innocuous as they first appear.
For starters, the ‘dressing up’ consists of being clad in highly flammable costumes that look, to my adult eye at least, about as confortable as sitting down for the evening and watching Fifty Shades of Grey with your Nan.
Secondly, the ‘scoffing sweets’ involves, aside from enough sugar to power a rocket, the receiving of said goodies from total strangers. In any other context, it’s utterly wrong.
“Don’t accept sweets from strangers!” we cry on the one hand, whilst actively encouraging our poor, confused offspring, to not only accept sweets from strangers, but to trawl up and down the city in the dark, knocking on their doors and begging for them.
My girls adore the Trick or Treat aspect of Halloween, and my husband usually decorates the front of our house with huge ghosts (a balloon under an old white sheet goes a long way in Lush Land). We go out with friends, and we knock only on the doors of people that are actively participating.
However, last year, my little ones realized exactly why it is called ‘trick’ or treating, and not just ‘treats, please.’ For when we returned from our nocturnal travels up and down the road, we found our house (pumpkin unlit to signify no callers whilst we were out), smothered in raw egg. Not that I’d have expected them to have been lightly scrambled first of course, after all, I’m guessing it wasn’t Ainsley Harriot who threw farm produce at my windows. But what I would have expected, is a modicum of respect for the fact that this is somebody’s property, a house that clearly has little children living in it, and that those little children, before they return home to answer their own door with their mummy and daddy, are out innocently enjoying themselves.
Nor am I one to stereotype teenagers – I work with young people. I find them witty, gregarious, and fun, and usually extremely polite. But on the other hand, I don’t think any OAPs were likely to have been practicing their bowling on my house instead of the local green, using half a dozen of an organic chicken’s finest, and a swift overarm.
I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for an egg-free front door this year, and an easy time for our more elderly neighbours.
First published in The Portsmouth News, Tuesday 20th October 2015