A blood-curdling scream pierces the night, closely followed by the running of feet, perhaps in pursuit of something.
Squeals soon accompany the cries in a cacophony of...terror? No, the squeals are actually the high-pitched giggles of children enjoying Halloween!
Times have certainly changed since I was younger.
Trick or treating was frowned upon by many; for some it was perhaps because they felt old people would be scared by children knocking on doors and for others it was because of religious beliefs.
It seems now though that we are catching up with America in terms of the commercial aspect of the event and its public acceptance.
Perhaps it is because the religious influence is receding in many homes; to enjoy the festivities certainly doesn’t mean you practise the associated beliefs.
As a household we revel in the fun that is to be had; we usually have a party with friends, dressing up (my vampire costume is literally long in the tooth!), playing games and having a great time together.
I suspect we have more plastic spiders, motorised brooms that cackle and sweep the floor and spooky decorations than Wilkinsons have in stock over the period.
We participate in trick or treating, but importantly we follow a “code.”
To be fair I know many others on the estate do to.
If a pumpkin is grinning through a window, its toothy smile bathing the driveway in an amber glow from within, or the home is clearly decorated in ghoulish objects, then we allow the children to knock the door.
In my opinion this is the correct way of doing it; the children are supervised by an adult and approach only those homes which appear to be happy to take part. We even take Daisy, our dog, as a Hell-Hound – it gives her a walk too!
Halloween is also the first of several events as the year enters its final stages. Following on from Halloween, we often meet friends and family to enjoy Bonfire Week (as it has now become) although this doesn’t mean we condone the acts of Guy Fawkes, we merely revel in the fellowship of family and friends.
Of course the culmination of this run is Christmas and New Year, again meeting up with family to give and gain strength, support and happiness; surely a vital part of religious beliefs, whether you practise them or not?
The point is this; under supervision Halloween can be good fun and doesn’t mean you believe in the dark arts because you take part, it is a reason to have fun.
There are many more terrifying things in today’s world that make much bigger bumps in the night, or day for that matter, than the quiet knock on the door of a vampire.
Just remember: if it is a vampire, don’t invite them in! Sleep tight.
Read more from J-P here.