I'm not a big fan of Halloween and I think I know why. Still, festive spirit and all that.
Back when I was about five years old we all lived in a little 'two up and two down' house and I was woken up pretty late at night by a load of screaming and choking noises from downstairs in the kitchen. I tippy toed onto the stairs, teddy bear in hand to see a lot of adults who I formerly trusted plunging childrens heads into an aluminium tub of water and laughing their heads off as they spluttered and coughed bucket loads of water up.
"WTF?" I thought.
"Come on down little Bernie and have an apple." They exhorted me.
Hands behind my back I stuck my head into the tub of water, soaked my pyjamas and got water up my nose. Why the hell couldn't they just give me the sodding apple if they wanted me to have it so much? At least I'd hidden my teddy bear before I came down. I didn't fancy seeing him floating face down in a bucket when I got up in the morning.
It didn't help that I'd sort of conflated Halloween with New Years Day in my mind. On New Years a stranger is supposed to bring a piece of coal to your door for luck at midnight. Since we didn't know any strangers it was usually my uncle in a disguise of some sort. Now, (at seven years old) I'm supposed to open the door to Freddy Kruger with a rock in his hand while my parents stood well back so as to not get too much blood on their clothes.
Ten years old, and the American idea of pumpkins is taking off in England. Well, we didn't have any pumpkins over here so we used turnips. My dad would saw the top off the thing and then we'd all try to hollow it out with sharp knives. Have you ever tried to hollow out a turnip? Those things are as hard as wood. By the time we'd finished there was blood all up the walls and at least two fingers and a thumb were rolling about on the floor.
We set it on the windowledge and lit a candle inside it. Within about ten minutes the room was full of the fug and smoke of burning turnip and we were all crawling about on our hands and knees in the two feet of clear air near the floor. Although, once the candle had set fire to the curtains the Fire Brigade soon arrived and smashed the windows in. Then they soaked everything downstairs in about five million gallons of water......including me.
You'd think my teenage years would have been a bit better. Every October the 31st I'd become the 'Legless Horseman Of The Apocolypse' and wander the pubs looking for inebriated young witches. In those circumstances you'd imagine that whatever you woke up next to in the morning would look better than she did the night before. But then, you'd discover that that smooth rocking motion you'd experienced when making love was because of her (real) hump and her teeth had fallen out in the night.
Have I ever mentioned I got married on Halloween?
The only halfway decent Halloween I've ever had was some years ago when I was able to introduce my ex-wife to my ladyfriend of the time. That was great. The sun had set, there was a thunderstorm. A few bats hit the windows and we heard the sound of the flying monkeys claws on the eaves of my house......then my ex arrived.
Have you ever seen two strange cats meeting on a fence? A rictus grin of politeness on their faces and their claws coming out behind their backs. I'd really wished I'd got a paddling pool full of jelly so I could throw them both in and film it. It would have been a big hit on YouTube.........:)
Don't get me started on the toerags that knock on your door all night and egg your house if you don't give them half a ton of chocolate....each. This year I have two piles of eggs ready to return the favour. Raw eggs for the kiddies and nice hard wooden ones for the teenagers.
I'll show them the meaning of Halloween.