I was caught on the hop re Halloween last year - forgetting about knocks on the door just after dark and pretending to be scared of six-year-olds dressed up as witches and other nightmarish creatures in masks. It is not a tradition I grew up with and it only really started in our street ten years ago when all our street’s children were small and the lady round the corner had opened a toy shop, so she was selling the costumes and masks. As the street’s children are now all grown up, last year we didn’t even have one knock at the door. Early this week however, a note was put in our letter-box to remind us to have sweets for the night of the 31st. It turned out that one neighbour was having a party and when small son went over for a recce at about 5.30 because our street was full of parked cars, he came rushing back to tell me that there were about 15 little children in the house all in the final stages of having their faces made up and costumes put on. Our neighbours belong to an Athletics Club and these were their (younger) friends’ children. In a panic, I had to rush out to the nearest shop. Just as well. Although I was prepared to find opening the door for an hour or so a real nuisance (that’s when cook dinner), I have to say, even my stony heart melted at the sight of the first lot - seven little girls in adorable pink & white costumes with fairy wings. They even had big sisters at the rear - dressed very convincingly as Playboy bunnies. After dark, came the boys with their scarier costumes. And as always, although I had made up small packets of identical goodies, you get the one who is sure his friend has a better packet and grabs it in favour of his own. There’s always one.