Last night I strode around my neighbourhood, swilling wine in the pissing rain and chewing sweets that practically stuck my jaws together (some would say no bad thing) and yet somehow ended up having a good time. It could only be one thing: Hallowe'en.
Every year I throw a Halloween bash for Sproglet - loading the kids with sugar and the adults with wine before we trawl the neighbourhood, eyes peeled for a glowing pumpkin - the sign that folk want to play the game. The kids immediately scatter like cockroaches in the dark and in between screeching their names and hollering 'Happy Halloween' we barely have a voice left at the end of the night. But the upside is the kids have enough candy to do them until next Halloween, we've bumped into every neighbour we always want to avoid and secretly felt smug that our kids' costume was better than their tat (you call that scary?) and we feel we've been amazing parents, even though our lips resemble the dead due to the copious amount of red wine we've necked.
Now, I believe there are staunch, unbreakable rules when it comes to trick or treating and they are as follows:
1. You must dress up. By that I mean costume, make up, the whole shebang and not some flimsy 99p plastic mask that you wear with your usual daytime attire. That simply won't cut it. Why should you get sweetie booty for just sticking on some sweaty mask when your mate has made a complete twat of himself covered in bog roll that trips him up every third step and is less 'mummy' and more Blue Peter experiment gone wrong?
2. Women over 30 give up on the whole dressing like sluts and it's acceptable malarky. It isn't. Just because you stick in a pair of fangs and some freaky red eyeliner does not give you the right to hoist your sagging cleavage into some sexy devil costume with a leotard option that gives you a pronounced camel toe all evening. Mutton is still Mutton - even if it is Halloween. If you want a lesson on acceptable Halloween costumes - look to La Moss, who was an AMAZING Morticia Addams last night. Or if in doubt don a witches hat, a comedy nose and those plastic fingers that never stay on. Brilliant.
3. If you are treaters - you MUST treat. As in - if you are begging in the doorways of all your neighbours - then by rights, you need to have your pumpkin out and proud and your basket of goodies ready for the million knocks on your door. Tis only fair. Only the tightest folk pound the streets gaining enough candy to rival Wonka, leaving their house in darkness or hiding behind the sofa when they get home, refusing to give out any goodies. A neighbour called at my door last night and I noted she had no pumpkin outside her home. Nothing screams tightwad more than a lack of pumpkin. Bah humbug.
4. The minute you run out of booty - bring in the pumpkin. Trailing up steps, knocking and waiting (in the rain) to be rewarded with 'sorry, we ran out' isn't good enough. At least pretend to be out like the rest of the street does...
5. Mothers - there is only one way to get over begging in the pissing rain - and that is to drink through it. Nappy bags were invented to also hold bottles, of the alcoholic kind - so allow Mummy's little helper to make an appearance - it's dark, no fecker will see anyway.
6. By 8:30 no one with any sense wants to see kids at their door ever again. The curfew on treating should be this time - when all kids turn into bats or the like. So get out, get your goodies and get home. Just in time for the parents to scrub off the white paste make up that refuses to budge and to put you to bed
7. I have yet to be asked for, or see anyone do a trick. Maybe we should expect more from our treaters? Anyone asking for raw cash should be booed down the street - or the door hastily shut. It aint charity week, it's all about the sugar. Anyone over 12 shouldn't be treating unless to accompany a brood of squawking kids - it is tragic otherwise. Like haven't you got fags to smoke round the back of the garage or something?
8. By the next day - all signs of your cheap decorations and rotting stinky pumpkins should have magically disappeared. It's November the 1st and annoying folk are going to start pointing out that it is X many days to Xmas and will begin buying their advent calendars. Freaks. Before Halloween all decorations look suitably spooky and funky - but the minute the witching hours are over - they look like the tragic plastic flimsy Asda tat that they are. Get rid.
The ultimate joy of Halloween is that unlike any other holiday (Xmas, Easter etc) there is no pressure to join in. If you're in - get your pumpkins out for the kids. If not, turn off all lights, hide at the back of the house and refuse to answer your bell or phone. Easy. Not unlike how my Husband behaves on a daily basis really...
All photos on this post are by the very talented Louis Quail - contact him
www.louisdebenham.com or check his work out on facebook - he is uber talented!