We live in a small cul-de-sac off a fairly busy road in London. There are 32 houses in the cul-de-sac and everyone knows everyone else by name. Quite rare by any standards, let alone in somewhere as large as London. The children all play with one another and are in and out of one another's' houses. It was great when Kay was growing up, because, as an only child, she always had someone to play with at the click of a finger at any time of day. There is a new generation of children now since Kay outgrew such things - out playing on their bikes, pushing toy prams, playing football. The cul-de-sac is a village all of its own and we are quite separate from the goings-on in the main road. Halloween is always a special time here, when all the cul-de-sac children go around in a large clump knocking at doors to trick or treat. The grown-ups go round with them, keeping a safe distance so as not to destroy their child's feeling of independence, yet watching over them in case they fall into the wrong hands. In the past, when Kay was little, I was known to host small dinner parties for the children before the tricking and treating commenced. On the menu would be bloody eyeballs (scoops of water melon), followed by dead man's fingers (sausages) with worms in blood sauce (spaghetti in tomato sauce). Kay and I found one of the home-made menu-cards yesterday while we were searching for the battery-lit pumpkin. Before it got dark, we prepared a basket full of chocolate mini bars to hand out to any callers that might come by and hung the plastic pumpkin on the front door.
At seven o'clock yesterday evening, then, Kay was getting ready to go out to a teenage party at a friend's house. All black dress, high heels and red lipstick. Not a pointed hat or white sheet with holes for her. Definitely not cool. Suddenly the doorbell rang. We opened the front door to find about twenty monsters, ghosts and ghouls standing on our doorstep. They ranged from those who could barely toddle and still in nappies to those who were at the age of eleven or thereabouts. All looking fabulously scary and holding out bags for their treats. Their parents stood much further back, shivering in the chilly night. Wanting them to work a bit for their treats, we playfully asked the group what they would do, if we did not give them anything. A little witch, not much older than four with blonde ringlets, acted as spokesperson at the front of the group.
"We would trick you", she shouted. The others all nodded and giggled in agreement.
"So what would that involve?", we asked.
The little blond witch thought long and hard, biting her bottom lip, and then blurted out with all the aplomb of the Godfather delivering his sentence.....
"I'd say BOO".
Her little face was a picture. In fact, I'd say a real treat. The chocolate bars were passed around.