By Orla Hearns
Halloween has undergone a massive transformation in Ireland of late.
With extravagant costumes and fully decorated homes, today’s kids are experiencing the kind of Halloween my generation could only dream about.
Back then we watched Halloween scenes on US TV programmes and movies in awe, marvelling at the children’s shop-bought costumes and at the fact that they were greeted with fistfuls of “candy” when the called to their neighbours’ doors.
It was all a far cry from the Irish experience at the time which invariably involved a costume comprised of bin bags and deconstructed cereal boxes and when the Halloween fare rarely strayed beyond the realm of monkey nuts and grapes.
It was all great fun though.
Now Ireland has caught up with American trends and I continue to enjoy Halloween with the exception of one mildly irritating element.
If you live in a housing estate you might know what I’m talking about – a phenomenon I like to call the trick or treat tourist.
In the last five years or more I have noticed with increasing frequency that significant proportions of the children that call to my door on Halloween night are complete strangers to me.
I’m guessing that families that live in less built-up areas have cultivated the habit of parachuting their kids into large housing estates for their trick or treat tour.
I can understand the appeal – it’s safer and affords the little ones the opportunity for a bumper Halloween hoard.
The problem is these trick or treat tourists are now starting to arrive en-masse with cousins or friends in tow too.
Their costumes are great, they are hugely excited and I’m delighted for them but they are putting a huge strain on my purse strings.
My kids did their fair share of trick or treating over the years so I’m not going to ignore the doorbell when it rings tonight but there’s nothing more stressful than finding you have no sweets left for a neighbour’s child because your resources have been plundered by the trick or treat tourists.