It’s at this time of year that I am reminded how scarily different I am from our English-speaking American allies. My Brit reservation and modesty kick right in as I try my best to dodge supermarket aisles, magazine pages and TV ads, all dedicated to what the Yanks call Halloween. Bloodied masks, mini-sized broomsticks, glow-in-the-dark paint, sparkly-coloured hair spray, gruesome table decorations, never-ending spider webs…. it’s all crossed the big pond ready for the retail vampires to spook us out.

But, of course, as a mum I have NO WAY OUT. Especially as dressing up is a rather regular occurrence in our house (amid the Smalls, I should add) – and that’s before the temptation of punk witches, bleeding pirates or a day-glo skeleton. More than this though as, on top of the fancy dress expenditure and hassle, I pretty much need to re-think my parental values for the night. As far as I can see, [which is not far as a) it’s pretty dark and b) it’s very crowded on our local trick or treating well-trodden path] I need to encourage my Smalls to knock on strangers’ front doors. Yes, I’d like them to reverse all that I have taught them over the last 9 years and, once they’ve knocked, I’d like them to beg in front of these strangers. A hungry, innocent face will do. More and more sugar, all in vibrant colours, shapes and sizes, will drop into their little hands. After an hour or so of this begging ritual, I’ll have to allow them to cram their little mouths full of this (usually rationed) evil sugar before a scrap will ensue between the two little horrors as to ‘who has more?’ in their begging bucket.

Having revealed myself as the officially haunted scrooge of All Hallows’ Eve, I don’t mind admitting that the majority of the looted sweets will end up in the bin the next morning. And the only relief will be that Halloween is over for yet another year.

PS of course the MONSTER fun that I had at Home House’s Halloween Party last Friday night is a completely different kettle of (grown-up) ghoulies.

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