IT’S almost that time of year when it becomes acceptable to turn up at your neighbour’s house half-dressed and demanding sugary snacks.
I’m talking, of course, about Hallowe’en – a strange old day when people go begging door-to-door and girls will dress up as absolutely anything as long as it involves knee-high boots, corsets and fishnet tights.
(And apparently anything really does go, as I once went to a party where someone had gone as a ‘sexy lobster’).
It’s a day that gives us a fleeting but revealing glimpse into the personalities of those around us.
For example, there’s always the autumnal version of Scrooge; the person refuses to engage and insists they will spend the evening pretending they’re not home.
“I don’t do Hallowe’en!” they announce. “I’ll have my living room light off and if anyone comes knocking they’ll get ignored!”
These are usually the same people who, come December, will get riled about their neighbour’s light-up reindeer.
(“It’s just an inappropriately high wattage, Margaret!”)
The opposite of those types are the ones who spend the GDP of a small country on Haribo sweets and spend the whole evening keeping everything crossed for trick-or-treaters.
They’ve usually scoffed half the stash by the time they get their first knock at the door and end up handing out anything they can find in their cupboards.
But nobody can say they’ve not immersed themselves in the spirit of the occasion.
There are also the surly teens who can barely stir themselves to put on a plastic mask, but expect buckets of treats in return.
And there are the excitable young children and their even more excitable parents who are keen to spread some of the magic of childhood (and obviously nothing screams ‘childhood magic’ like green face paint and false warts).
This year, as Smithy’s birthday falls on the eve of All Hallows, we will be celebrating with a spooky-themed fancy dress party.
I can only hope there won’t be a lobster – sexy or otherwise – in sight.
Article first published in The Westmorland Gazette on October 15, 2015