Usually, I get most excited about Halloween. I love the theatrics of it, the glimmering pumpkins, the ghoulish outfits, the sense of anticipation. I’m a big kid at heart, I love dressing up. I love seeing little children dressed up, and decorating my front window with skeletons and other spooky paraphernalia to hopefully enthral them when they visit. I feel a little rush of joy, a euphoria, when the door bell rings and I open it to see a little crowd of witches, ghouls and beasts standing on my doorstep uttering in unison; ‘Trick or Treat’.
That is, until last year. Something changed last year. Firstly we got a lot more visitors, (I’m sure the local kids were tweeting each other the locations of the good stuff–‘Quick! Chocolate eyeballs at 66 Skeleton drive..’) And secondly, some of them rather put this old witch’s nose out of joint. So this year, I’m not quite so keen, in fact, I feel so ‘bah humbug!’ about it, I might just not bother at all.
Imagine the scene. It was early evening, two delicately carved, lit pumpkins flickered either side of the front gate, like signposts to welcome would-be visitors. Little Pip was dressed in a spider outfit (looking adorably cute.) By the front door, a little felt pumpkin bucket, full of treats.
There were lots of callers in straight succession. Cute little kids; a little boy with an axe coming out of his head – he pressed a button next to it, with grave solemnity, and a trickle of blood ran down his face. It really was ingenious. Little Pip was enthralled by the excitement of it all. He had no idea what he was giving out (ie, chocolate) but seemed to think holding out the orange pumpkin bucket to the children on the doorstep was rather fun, and the children were very sweet with him too. There were lots of rather nice Plumpton mummies, standing back beyond the gate calling out the usual pleasantries, “Make sure you say ‘Thank you’ etc etc. All very nice, very West London, thank you very much.
A little later. DING DONG, DING DONG. A chaos of slightly older children, maybe aged 9 or 10. A large, spectacled boy pushed to the front, and grabbed lots of goodies from our bucket, and then turned around, shouting very loudly, in a most pompous manner, to the rest of the group:
“Warning! SERIOUSLY low supplies of confectionary”. I was appalled at his ungrateful attitude and rude behaviour. Where was this boy’s mother? He needed a good ‘telling off.’ (To put it politely.)
Another child looked disparagingly at my Cadbury’s mini confectionary offerings and said:
"Do you have any Chocolate Eyeballs?”
“ Err…no sorry,” I said, “I did have some, but they’re all gone.” (To which, I felt like adding; ‘Do you have any idea how expensive it would be to fill a whole bucket with chocolate eyeballs at this time of year?)
The next child stared into the bucket, and said;
“ Do you have anything that isn’t chocolate? I’m gluten free”.
A banana from the kitchen clearly wasn’t what he had in mind. My sensory powers told me he was probably thinking more along the lines of Haribo. Only in Plumpton, land of the rice cake and sugar-free biscuit would a child turn up at the door and state their dietary requirements whilst they trick or treat.
I shut the door. By this point, my confidence in my Halloween offerings shattered by a group of critical 9 year olds. I looked into my pumpkin bucket. Not much left. Maybe this flash flood of tricksters really was the result of a tweet fest. Then I had a brainwave. I remembered my stash of mini-Cadburys crème eggs at the back of the pantry. (A ridiculously large amount, gifted by a friend who had visited Cadbury world in Birmingham).
I filled the bucket with the eggs to the top. I was most pleased with myself. A way to get rid of the eggs – at last.
Another coven of witches. And a smart-alec wizard. As I proffered my basket, he shot a withering look my way and stated;
“Interesting….Easter Eggs… at Halloween. I’ve never seen THAT before”
“No easter eggs for you then, you sarky little blighter,” I felt like saying, as I gritted my teeth. The rest of the children didn’t seem to mind though. They took their eggs willingly and made their cursory thank you’s. By this point, the novelty of Halloween was wearing thin. It was also starting to bug me slightly that they weren’t even doing anything for the treats. No joke, or singing of a song, not even a token ‘Woooooo’ from the ghost or a cackle from the witch. In fact, some of them hadn’t even bothered to dress up. They just stood there, uttering ‘Trick or Treat’ in a dull, monotone fashion, whilst they clutched their already huge swag of sweets, and expected more, as if it were their god-given right.
Then they started to criticise my pumpkin. (Yes, it’s mouth was a little wonky due to a slip of the knife, but really, there is no need to compare out loud, just how much better your pumpkin is, not in earshot of someone who has just given you sweets.
A couple of revellers looked scathingly into my sparse, pumpkin basket. A couple of lonely mini crème eggs, rolled around at the bottom. All that remained after a night of chocolate looting and masked insults to my fragile ego.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “ This is all I have left.”
“Have you got any MONEY?” They said.
“Can you see a sign saying BANK?” I asked.
And with that, the final splinter that broke my broomstick handle, I walked outside, collected my two, very nicely carved pumpkins, bought them inside, closed the door, and turned off the lights.
Halloween was officially OVER.
I am still undecided whether I will actively participate in this year’s festivities, (especially as Little Pip is still pretty much oblivious to the existence of Halloween). However, if I do, obviously I’ll be remembering the following: Easter Eggs are not cool, gluten free offerings are required, and on no account, at all, on the 31st October should there ever be ‘seriously low supplies of confectionary’. Oh yes, and I’ll also be sure to leave my purse by the door, as if I do run low on sweet supplies, not to worry, they’ll take cash instead.