Halloween has really upped the ante in recent years here, hasn’t it?
Specifically, in relation to the ‘Go big or go home’ mentality. Reinforced, in no small part, by the elaborate, inflated arches which adorn entryways and bedecked driveways that appear to have become par for the course in advance of October 31. Doorbells no longer chime; they emit ghoulish cackles.
Shadowy projections of haunted houses flit across the exterior façade, courtesy of a Thursday middle aisle special purchased by men across the nation which has duly become a point of matrimonial discord due to the argumentative clincher of, “What will the neighbours think? Look at the absolute STATE of it.”
Those of you devoid of the responsibility of raising versions of your reproductive genes probably feel the mounting hysteria on behalf of parents is just that… hysterical.
But I have begun to look upon Halloween even less favourably than the build up to December 25. Primarily due to the fact that there is an entire month’s worth of absolute tripe to navigate as opposed to the feverish three weeks of December.
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The postman knocked on the door today and said, “Just in case you’re wondering, it hasn’t arrived yet and I checked with the parcel post before I left”. He’s referring to the latest Ann Pratchett, ‘The Dutch House’, which I have pestered him for everyday to see if he has it in the van. It will be added to this, the October pile. Which is considerably less taxing than the previous months one.
As much as I can assure you that you will have indeed eaten the sweets you have purchased prior to the aforementioned occasion, thus warranting you to repurchase same; so too can I confidently attest to the following… Your child will have chosen their costume before the sun rises on the first day of October.
They will then spend the remainder of the month changing their minds close to seventy- billion times.
We have moved on considerably since the days of a bin liner fashioned with holes for arms and necks and a Quinnsworth bag to hold the far from Insta-worthy haul of monkey nuts, bruised apples and a rogue 50p coin.
But, it appears, my children now view their selections with the sartorial precision of a young ingenue attending their first Met Gala.
I am not here for it. Each day during the month will bring a request for arts and crafts materials for school.
This will hit you hard during the toddler years in particular. The amount of painted pasta, glitter and black paper covered with indeterminate chalk scrawls that will enter your home during this time is eyewatering.
Whilst you can wing it with your interpretation of the ‘Art’ come the festive season, “That’s a lovely snowman/Santa/reindeer etc”, it is more difficult to do so during the ghoulish month.
The child who is fond of grudge holding in our house, still refers to the time I queried, “Isn’t that just grand now! What is it?”
How she managed to interpret macaroni and cotton wool glued to a piece of paper as, “…a zombie bunny in a graveyard”, will never cease to amaze me.
But then, the grudge holding chid is also the one who had an unhealthy obsession with funerals and robbing stones from graves which she stashed beneath her bed in a biscuit tin. So, the troubling art work was the least of my worries.
Your troubles will be the amount of purple glitter that takes up residence in every nook and cranny of your house after your toddler spins around to showcase their spooky masterpiece from Montessori.
For the two hours it will take them to frisk each house in the area; you can add another hour onto that due to the fact you will have to trawl through their loot on their return.
To the person who still thinks it is acceptable to bag up loose sweets to hand out; well, you must be higher than my child who will undoubtedly snort an entire bag of sherbet up his nostril that evening.
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This weeks column. Take pity on me and read it please. If only for the fact that the bite on my shin may well be courtesy of the eight-legged beast which scuttled across the sofa and which I dutifully concussed and trapped as evidence. So, it would be really sound if you would read my stuff as I may well be slightly incapacitated in a few hours! Thanken yew!
This ranks up there with the couple who answered the door one Halloween to a rabid set of under-fives, holding a tub of miniature Heroes saying that they could all, “take one”.
They did not make that mistake the following year. In the hope of any sense of decorum and order being retained; you have got to familiarise yourself with the code.
If the lights aren’t aglow, don’t be the bearer of woe. In brief, if the lights are off don’t be THAT parent who lets their kid terrorise the neighbour’s dog by repeatedly ringing their doorbell. Just don’t.
There will be a request, albeit a whining one, for you to dress up at some stage as, “All the other Mums and Dads do it!” You can play this one of two ways.
Commit to an entire superhero situation with them or on being pestered with the previously mentioned request on arriving in the door after a 60 hour work week, smear your lipstick across your face, drag your hands over your eyes to smudge your mascara and say, “There, I’m a zombie”.
No one will dare contest same.