31st October

I've been trying to ignore the tell-tale signs for weeks; the advertisements, the merchandising, the propaganda, but as the days creep forward and the foreboding date looms, it's getting increasingly difficult to avoid the pumpkins, witches hats and synthetic spider webs on display everywhere I go. Halloween is just another excuse for the retail industry to capitalise on selling needless products at ridiculous prices, forcing parents to succumb to their children’s spoilt shrills.

Tell me, what am I going to do with a 12ft inflatable, tacky ghost? Scare people off my front door? Really?

The 31st October is reasonably high up on my list of dislikes. I'm moderately religious, love sweets and hate children, so understandably why I would look forward to a day which trivialises the occult and where I'm obliged to hand out sweets to bratty kids who incessantly bang at my door? I mean it’s basically a mild form of blackmail isn't it; "Trick or Treat?" In theory I could ignore my ringing door bell or else answer and decline to hand out any sweets, but based on past experience that hasn't gone down very well. Customarily you have to partake in the good will of handing out sweets or else receive various forms of abuse.

A few years ago, one Halloween, I opened my door to find 8 screaming kids dressed in ludicrous outfits accompanied by an adult. In the midst of my irritation, I tried to cover up my callous expression and apologetically explained that I didn't have anything left to give. These children seemed astonished that I wasn’t prepared to give them any sweets and wouldn't get off my doorstep. I found myself in an increasingly awkward situation; all I wanted to do was slam the door and go back inside, but their adult supervision prevented me from doing so. Within seconds one of the little boys whose feeble attempt to dress-up as Frankenstein resulted in him looking more like Jack Sparrow, burst out crying. My ears were violated, I could feel my temper rising and as I politely made an excuse to go inside the adult stepped forward and reprimanded me for being so unorganised. "It’s Halloween for Christ’s sake! You should have been more prepared! Look what you've done? The poor children!" she barked vociferously. Poor children...POOR children?! I wanted to snap her witches’ nose off her face and put her on a plane to Sudan. That'll teach her about 'poor' children. Fool.

On another occasion, whilst at university, I'd answered the door to find a small group of slutty students with sullen expressions sucking on some Chupa Chups they'd been given (most probably by my next door neighbour). They'd declined to use the usual catchphrase "trick or treat?" Instead one of them said "'appy 'alloween, so you gonna give us some sweets or what?" I found it difficult to muster an adequate response because I was so much in shock. With a vacant expression I blankly responded "Sorry, I don't have any," and closed the door swiftly not wanting to antagonise the uninvited guests. Less than a minute later after sitting back down in front of the TV and reeling over what had just happened, I heard a faint crack against the living room window and opened the curtains to find an egg splattered across the glass. Easily wound up, I was seething with anger. Surely there comes an age when you have to stop ‘trick or treating’ and find other ways of celebrating Halloween; like partying.

This leads me on to other issues I have connected with Halloween. Can someone please tell me why women feel it’s acceptable to go clubbing dressed up in next to nothing and pretend to be a ‘sexy devil’ all in the name of Halloween? They look more like morbid hookers. When have you ever seen a real witch in fishnet tights and PVC leather? I have no problem with women dressing up provocatively, it’s their choice, but don’t try and excuse yourself from looking like a tramp because it’s Halloween. I suppose at least with men you get a bit more variety, but maybe that’s not necessarily a good thing. Over the years I’ve seen Batman outfits made of bin liners, men shrouded in white bed sheets trying to pass themselves off as Casper but ending up looking like the KKK, Hitler look-a-likes and men dressed in nothing but black leather speedos. Put your budging ball sack away, I don’t need to see that shit. Can people think of anything more inventive and less offensive? Call me a prude but on certain occasions the outfits really do jar me.

I understand that many people (children especially) look forward to Halloween and may have a completely different outlook on it which I respect within reason, but it doesn’t mean that they have the right to demand sweets, dress inappropriately and get off their face all in the name of tradition.