Halloween or Hallowe'en or how ever you spell it...
Just another reason why I hate the season of ghosties and goulies. There was a time when Halloween was one of those poor emaciated holidays when a straggle of kids would ring on the door and tell the restive householder that indeed Halloween was coming and their efforts would be rewarded with a handful of sweets and that was that ... But not anymore.
Just like Valentine's Day and Mother's and Father's Day, Halloween is becoming a holiday when we are forced to do our civic and patriotic duty and spend a fortune to keep the retail sector going. But like Valentine's Day, you're no longer talking about one day.
Oh no, for about a fortnight beforehand, your street sounds like a cheap recreation of the Battle of Somme as bangers ruin the silence and scare the cats and dogs.
Nowadays, you're some kind of miseryguts if you don't have a luminous skeleton or at the very least an electric pumpkin in your window. Don't be surprised if a friend throws a Halloween party and you're expected to trot off to the party costume shop to spend £30 on badly-fitting nylon. Or you have to throw an E-number filled bash for the little dahlings. Or you find your letterbox is stuffed with some council-sponsored holiday programmes ...
Even worse is the growing Americanisation of what used to be a sweet little pagan holiday. Shiny faced kids in professionally made Spiderman costumes now come to your door demanding 'Trick or Treat?' Trick or Treat?
What happened to a wee ditty about the goose, the penny and your old man's hat? Where do they think they are? Seattle? Memphis? Albuquerque.
Yeah, I know it's a bit early but I can't resist ... Bah! Humbug!