Time for Pumpkin Pie and Ice Scream!

Hallow all!

Zoe’s black and orange stripy socks failed to escape my notice. Scary movies are creeping up on the TV Guide. Multipack sweet bags are on special offer.

The 31st October is most certainly looming closer.

It is the one night of the year that kids are allowed to drag their reluctant parents out on the dark streets lit only by street lamps that flicker eerily. Draped in ebony capes, they squeal in excitement as they skip down driveways, hands wrapped around a broomstick and cauldron to hold the sweeties. They impatiently rap the front door and yell ‘TRICK OR TREEEAAT!’ impatiently. Hands swarm into the bowl of sweets. Satisfied, they return to the pavement and onto the next house.

Bit of a weird tradition, don’t you think?

My mum certainly thought so when we were younger. Despite the extravagant festivities on our street, she described the Halloween ritual as ‘begging’ and begrudged taking us out. Luckily her prejudice softened over the years and trick or treating soon became accepted in the Nugent household.

The excitement begun when the first trick or treaters came knocking at about 5:00pm. Given their lack of height and sheer excitement, this was probably their first ever trick or treating trip. At the end of the driveway, the doting Mummies would be waiting, admiring their little devils diving into the sweet bowl. Not all trick or treaters were as adorable, though. I’m sure we all know those ghastly 11 year old boys who would hammer the door boisterously. Then they would proceed by snatching a fistful of Haribos and Drumsticks, not even voicing the words ‘Trick or Treat’. Nor would they say ‘Thanks’.

Unlike them, I would like to think I was quite a polite trick or treater. My mum routinely gave us the ‘No pumpkin, no knocking lesson’ each year. I would watch in disdain as my friends carelessly knocked on every door, regardless of the pumpkin’s invitation. They may have accumulated more sweets than me, much to my disappointment, but at least I could sleep with the thought that I had not terrified any unwitting pensioners. And I would never forget the essential lines, ‘Trick or Treat’ and ‘Thank you’, even when the only offerings were those gross boiled sweets…

Halloween is the one night of the year that anyone of any age can dress up and not stick out like a bat during daytime. That is, unless, you get the wrong day. And that is exactly what I did a good 10 years ago… Delighted to be invited to boy’s 7th Halloween party, I eagerly dressed up as a witch. I went all out, with lime-green face paint, plastic witch fingers and an oversized witch hat. I could hardly contain my excitement as my dad drove down the road to the restaurant. I flew out of the car and shot towards the venue. However upon entering the restaurant, confused faces turned towards me. None of my friends were there. My dad optimistically told the waiter I was here for James’ 7th party. The waiter replied that we were a week late…

Despite my desperation to join in the Halloween euphoria, I could never understand why Halloween costumes had no insulation. Was I the only witch/cat freezing my paws off as I knocked on every front door with a pumpkin in the window? Scantily dressed in thin polyester, it was hardly appropriate considering it was the night before November… And my indecisiveness forced me to prolong the exposure to the icy winds; I practically had to play Ip-Dip-Do at every house to decide between the Freddo, Rocky and Crunchie. It would be audacious to take all three…

Missing out on Halloween, however, was a blow. The year we had an extension on our house, we moved out for six months to live with my grandparents. This, unfortunately, coincided with 31st October and their neighbourhood wasn’t particularly Halloween-friendly. Not one trick or treater came knocking… well… that is not quite true…

10 years earlier…

Exasperated, I sat sulking in my temporary bedroom. Why had no one noticed our enticing pumpkin glowing in the window? The sweet bowl was waiting idly by the front door, but it was full to the brim. When suddenly…

“DING DONG!” I jumped up from my hunched crossed-legged position, bolted down the stairs and skidded to the front door. I yanked it open and to my initial delight it was a trick-or-treater. But my face fell after a few seconds. Wrapped in colourful scarves with a pair of sunglasses and a rake for a broomstick was my Grandad. My earlier disappointment had evidently been noted by him and he had gallantly dressed up in the most ridiculous costume he could make out of my Granny’s wardrobe. Alas his best efforts backfired by aggravating me more and making me feel foolish for letting myself believe we actually had a real trick or treater. Rather than bearing sweet offerings, I hastily spun round and retreated back to my room, feeling hard-done-by. How ungrateful.

Present day again

I’m nearly 18 and my lust for Halloween has diminished with age. Trick or treating ended 4 years ago; now a new meaning of Halloween is blossoming. Think Mean Girls…

Just kidding. I’m not really into all that palaver… yet. Give it a year.

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