Halloween, now a premier league family event


A DAD'S LIFE:Being visited by the spirits of Halloween past, writes ADAM BROPHY

HALLOWEEN, SO the commonly held truth goes, is an opportunity for girls to dress all nasty without guilt. Because it’s fancy dress, nobody can call you an actual floozy, just a pretend floozy. What an opportunity. I reckon 20 per cent of Facebook’s initial flotation value of around $100 billion was down to the sharing of Halloween party pictures.

It’s the time of year when nice girls can go wild and still walk into work the next day with their heads held high.

You spend your 30s attempting to sandblast such dirty Halloween thoughts from your mind as your kids move through the traditional costumes: witch, ghost, ET and Little Dead Riding Hood. Halloween, as a festival, sums up life before and after kids. Or, as some might say, life when it was your own, and life when it is simply owned by someone else.

Of course, I wouldn’t say that.

My idea of a perfect Halloween is spending a small fortune on stale monkey nuts and shivering door-to-door through the rain, explaining that my daughter is Elvira, not a pale, poverty-stricken child of recession. Much preferable to dancing into the small hours and snorting shots from the navel of a scantily clad Wonder Woman.

Parenthood. It has all the pluses.

Last year, we started what the missus wants to develop as a Halloween tradition. She dragged a few of the local parents up to our house so all the kids could wail and jangle chains together before taking off down to the nearest estate to harass pensioners and single house-sharers into coughing up the contents of their biscuit jars. I missed the show and was browbeaten on my return for having the temerity to be elsewhere for such an important occasion.

Halloween has left the lowly third division status of Father’s Day far behind and become something we must all hold in high esteem. The stature of this particular party has grown so high that I have been instructed to build all other arrangements around this one.

I was also instructed to make myself available after school a week in advance for the initial costume brain- storming. When that was done and decisions had been made, I provided transportation to the relevant places of business for haberdashery, face paint and hair product. But even with costume and stage management complete, the work continues on the night with hosting and tour driving. Halloween is like directing a coast to coast Spinal Tap tour, except with more volatile stars.

They aren’t bad nights out though. One of my favourite quotes of recent years occurred when the Corpse Bride look was de rigeur. I chaperoned a bunch of pre-teen, deathmasked, cobwebbed girls in pseudo-wedding garb down a dark street armed with begging buckets and past a couple of gaping old ladies. “Is it a communion?” I heard one ask the other, mystified.

So, as I and every other parent of young children prepare for our annual fright-night foray, I have a request to those of you who won’t be out between seven and nine, but will rather be donning dapper suits and/or preparing to “tart up” for a night of partying. Tonight, when the doorbell rings, answer it.

We know you’re in there. It may be a drag to have to open up and take in yet another bunch of Harry Potters and Spidermen. All they want is for you to ooh and aah a little, cover your eyes in mock fear and laugh at them.

They want treats too, but they’ll take banter and a giggle if that’s all that’s on offer. If you can, pay a visit to Aldi in advance and for a fiver you’ll buy enough chewy sweets to assure loyalty from the neighbourhood’s youth forever. It may be sooner than you realise before you might need these same kids to babysit your as yet unborn offspring and allow you the odd sneaky Halloween night out.

Think as well, if you can, of us lot, shivering out there. Standing like lemons as little Buzz Lightyear stares up at us confused, saying, “I can see them through the window daddy, I can see the TV on. Why won’t they come to the door? Why daddy? Why?”

It’s soon enough they’ll be sneaking off to bonfires with their mates, clanking Bacardi Breezers, swearing they’re just off to watch a DVD in a friend’s house. In the meantime, I want them to enjoy the mwah-ha-ha while they still can. So give us a dig-out. Please.

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