Sinead Ryan: 'Laying ghosts of All Hallows past to rest'
When I was a child, Halloween was about homemade costumes using a bedsheet and a box, loo-roll tubes and Sellotape or a cheap plastic mask bought in the supermarket. It was about filling a plastic bag with monkey nuts and apples you would never eat and throwing out the sodden mess a week later. All the kids on our road descended on the neighbours at the same time and nobody expected anybody else to have a 'bought' costume or even face paint.
There was one older man, however, who lived alone and had no kids of his own. He obviously didn't get the point of Halloween because he never bothered to get in supplies, but handed out 2p, 5p or even 10p coins to every child that called but we had to go into his hall to claim it.
It must have cost him a fortune, because we savvy kids who favoured the sheet/ghost ensemble could run around the corner and then back to his door to claim another haul without him recognising us. I once got up to 50p before word got around and my mother turned up at the end of his driveway to tell me off. These days, of course, that story would be a lot creepier than it was back then.