I am not a fan of Halloween. Sorry. But there it is.
To be specific, what I am really not a fan of is the dubious tradition of 'Trick or Treating'. I first came across it while living in America in the early nineties. My sons were then aged two and four and I simply could not see the appeal of taking them out in the cold dark streets to knock on the doors of strangers and ask for sweets. But I was given little choice. In the USA Halloween hype starts many weeks in advance of the date, and is backed by adults as well as children, commerce and the media, comprising a bombardment so widespread and intense that there was - and is - simply no avoiding it. My two were as excited as every other toddler in the country. Costumes got cobbled together. Strangers' doors got knocked on. Copious amounts of 'candy' got handed out and eaten. I hid my lack of enthusiasm as best I could, taking secret consolation from the fact that this was, plainly, an AMERICAN mania. Once we were back living in the UK, it would all be done with.
Ha ha ha.
Because sometime around our return to London a couple of years later, Halloween Hype seemed to make its own parallel journey across the Atlantic. That meant I had another TWELVE(ish) YEARS of all the nonsense to endure: The last minute production of costumes (not my area of creative strength), face-paint application (I am better at this), door-stepping strangers, and the accumulation of enough sweets to last a year, let alone a single day. There was sometimes a darker side to the nonsense too - toxic rubbish thrown at the house, lovingly made garden decorations smashed (I was particularly upset about the pumpkin-lanterns), and marauding gangs of decidedly OLD 'children', intimidating the much younger enthusiasts, not to mention their parents...
Oh yes, I have done my Halloween Time.
So now I say YA-BOO-SUCKS to the whole Show. This year there won't be any hopeful goblins on my doorstep (too-old or otherwise) because all house-lights visible to the roadside will be turned OFF. I shall be tucked safely out of sight in my back room, curled up on the sofa with a glass of Malbec, the Times crossword and the telly. I've got a feast of catching up to do - Homeland, Downton, Boardwalk Empir... second glass of Malbec might even be required. If the doorbell is rung I won't budge. I shall feel a tad guilty, (I am not an automaton), but learning how to please oneself is one of the great consolations of getting older.