It's only a few more days now until that dreaded evening where you just get to curl up on the sofa with a bar of chocolate and a whole evening of telly when BANG BANG... "TRICK OR TREEEEEAT!!!!" It's the fourth interruption so far and it's not even 7.30 yet. So are you going to be a grumpy moo and ignore the children in their costumes standing outside, or are you going to open the door every five minutes handing out armfuls of sweets to the greediest werewolves, vampires and witches around?
Or are you going to do what I did last year? Last year I had a moment of madness, and scared more children witless than my grandfather did when his teeth fell out each time he whistled for his dog in the park. Let me explain.. and possibly inspire. To begin with I got a skeleton. Not the type you dig up, but the type you buy in a party shop. It was about five feet tall, solid, and pretty realistic. I drilled a small hole in the top of the skull, threaded some black wire through it and tied the end of the wire round a nut inside the skull so that the whole thing could be suspended. I then tied the top of the wire to a hook in the ceiling in my hall, about a foot away from the door. No, you're not even close to guessing yet. It gets worse.
Much worse. I got a green lightbulb and put this into the light fixture which is under the stairs, which in my house meant that the hall was filled with a soft, dim green light. Obviously the hall light was switched off. Now, I have an old security light - you know the halogen ones which you normally have stuck on the back of your garage? I had one spare from an old house, and plugged this in so that it was by the front door, facing inwards. This light was switched off. Next I put in a series of about four or five hooks, and threaded string from the front door handle, down and across to the skirting board and round the corner, to where the floodlight was plugged into the wall. This is the corner I was behind, with access to the end of the string, and the floodlight switch.
Just two more things to add.... I then picked up a couple of seriously icky 'body parts' which my local party shop sells. This included a severed arm and a really gruesome head - from something which looked vaguely like a cross between a zombie, a dog, and my local MP. I placed these body parts on the floor, and then added one more finishing touch.
This was my stroke of genius! I got a large black sheet, and attached this to the hall ceiling, so that one end of it was flush with the top of the door, and the other end about six feet away. The end furthest from the front door was fixed pretty securely (I now have several holes in my walls and ceiling, but boy it was worth it!) The other end of the black sheet next to the door had two metal hoops sewn to it, one at each corner, and I put two hooks into the ceiling.
I held the sheet up in place using two small bits of wooden dowel which slid between the two hooks, and these were attached to a length of string, so that when I pulled the string the sheet would drop down, but only at the door end, hanging vertically from the ceiling about six feet into the hallway. The seriously evil part of this plan was that I raised the skeleton up so that it was effectively lying on the ceiling, and then used the black sheet to hold it there, holding the black sheet up in turn with the pegs.
Lights dimmed, I lay in wait. Knock knock. "Trick or treat!!!" A pause. I then pulled the first string, which opened the door slowly... fully open, and apparently no one there but a few body parts lit by an eerie green light. Horrified murmurs and whispers. A pause. Then I simultaneously flickered the floodlight twice to simulate lightning, whilst pulling the string which released the black sheet, sending the skeleton swinging down to stand directly in front of the children. The screams were so good I should have recorded them. Now THAT'S how to get out of handing over any sweets!