Come Halloween, every child past third class carries a mental map of where the goodies are- houses where you get full-size Mars Bars or a two euro coin and there’s no sign of loose peanuts breaded in lint. For the rest of their lives, long after the last of the faux spiderwebs have finally been decoupled from the shrubbery, those homes hold a special place in kids’ hearts and memories. They’re part of neighbourhood mythology.
Back when hardly anyone decorated- a mere five years ago in the height of the recession when blowing 50 quid at Penneys for “Scream’ décor in every window was out of the question- it took some skill to know where to go. No more. Now when the hard-core trick-or-treaters hit the road, the only tool they need is a productivity app. There are very few Halloween Humbugs left.
It isn’t always a question of money. Over the past few days, we’ve heard instances of people going way out of their way to make their houses positively off-putting to potential young visitors. One tactic is to make your house so scary that no one crosses the threshold. Others believe in physical barricades (strategically placed potted plants etc), and of course full blackout procedures, should make a clear point. But according to one man in our neighbourhood, the hoardes are undaunted and no matter what he does, he has to spend every year cowering in a dark back room listening to the distant shellfire on Killiney Hill as though under siege. Hearing him describe it, you can’t help but think it would be way easier just to buy a bag of minis to leave on the stoop and be done with it.
Perhaps he should take a leaf from another neighbour who took it upon herself to dole out toothbrushes instead of sweets. As a passive aggressive expression, it was a genius move guaranteed to ensure a dramatic drop in visitor numbers YOY. Numbers will eventually dwindle away as the collective memory of the mean old witch with the dental tools grows. But maybe at the end of the day that’s what a humbug wants- ignominy when everyone else is having fun.