Halloween: from Non-Existent to Impossible to Avoid

Since becoming a dad, Andy has observed Halloween becoming a huge holiday, compared to when he was younger in the 90s. Now in his home, the Halloween spirit is fully embraced



Halloween in the 90s: Turnout the lights, no one is home

Is it me or has Halloween suddenly become as big as Christmas? I'm not saying this is a bad thing; it's simply an observation.

Since I became a father in 2014, I feel like the holiday is far more prevalent than when I was a child. Halloween for me is a totally new experience. Growing up in the 90s it was totally non-existent in our house. My parents were not interested in the slightest. Halloween only happened in the outside world, not inside our small detached house in suburbia. They wanted peace and quiet and 'Coronation Street'. My siblings and I were not allowed to participate. No trick-or-treating, no frightening bin-bag costumes, no 'Vimto' chewy bars, and no pumpkins. 

Halloween to my parents was an annoyance; like a wart. It was nothing more than kids knocking on stranger's doors demanding sweets without having to do anything. 

Because of this perception, every Halloween night, our house resembled an era pre-electricity. In my parent's eyes, the house needed to be 'anti-Halloween ready' -- kind of like when little Kevin from 'Home Alone' had to boobytrap his house in preparation for the two burglars coming that evening. 

No tricks and no treats

As soon as the sun set, the anti-Halloween operation would commence to make it look like no one was home. All lights inside would be temporarily switched off. Total darkness. Ironically, a vampire's ideal conditions. Curtains would then be firmly pulled shut so no gap could be seen by any kids in search of a packet of 'Refreshers'. This first step was utterly crucial. It was a, "we are trying to watch 'Coronation Street' in peace", message to the outside world.

We became Halloween recluses. Shivering, nervous at the potential clanging of the letterbox. Or worse still, the door-bell being used vigorously (my dad begrudged having to replace the battery). What if they keep on knocking? What if they never go away? 'DO NOT ANSWER THE DOOR', was my parent's Halloween philosophy. For some unknown reason, and on very rare occasions someone would mistakenly open the door. Faced with bin-bag monsters and no sweets, we'd bribe them with 20p. To this day I still don't know why we gave them money! 

Getting into the Halloween spirit

Fast forward to 2017 and Halloween is firmly on my agenda. Well, it's firmly on my wife's agenda and I'm trying my best to get involved. We've bought our daughter a costume, filled a bowl with sweets and treats and visited a pumpkin farm (were they even around in the 90s?) We've been ready for Halloween since mid-July. (Ok, not quite July but it feels like forever).

Our daughter is now old enough to have a simple understanding that a pumpkin with missing teeth means Halloween. We have a bag full of tat ready to decorate - heck we may even wear costumes ourselves. In complete contrast to my 1990s family house - we will declare 'Halloween is on!' This gives the green light for trick-or-treaters to come knocking. And boy do they knock. EVERY. SIX. SECONDS.

It's a bit of fun, and that's what being a kid is all about. 

Andy Robinson, Working Dad and Tinies Manny


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