As a hazy sunlight brightens the midday sky the idea of candles, cosy houses, costumed youngsters and mounds of sweets and chocolate seems worlds away. Crunchy, pumpkin-coloured leaves whip and skip along the pavements. They huddle in corners, behind bins, at the foot of walls and up against garage doors. Anywhere that will afford them a modicum of shelter from the chill breeze. Perhaps they’re preparing themselves for what they know is coming? Of course not. They’re just leaves…
But as the day advances and darkness encroaches, earlier these days, the candles begin to flicker, the costumes and make up are donned and the streets awaken to welcome a fervour unmatched by any other night throughout the year. Miniature witches, skeletons, ghouls and goblins prowl the streets, buckets in hand, kicking and dancing through the gathering autumn leaves, en route to the homes that welcome them with glowing pumpkins, flashing lights and ghostly apparitions hung at every window.
“Trick or treat?” they echo, as door to door they trudge the streets with delighted glee, collecting more and more delicious goodies as they go. On to the next house: “Trick or treat?” they sing. But it’s always a treat. Does anyone dare to deny these little ghouls their tasty morsel for fear of a squirt from a water pistol, a broken egg on the doorstep… or worse?
And so they proceed. On and on in the gathering blackness, a biting wind following them as they go. Until at last each house has been visited, sweets and chocolate sources are exhausted and so are the tiny figures beginning to shiver within each creepy costume. Home, at last, to bath and bed. Plenty of time tomorrow to sort out and begin consuming the precious treasure, safely stowed until morning, at the foot of the bed.