It is a fairly well-known fact that Halloween, which we celebrated last night, has its background in older, pagan festivities.
Indeed, the word 'Halloween' originally comes from 'Haughlerwai'iaighn', which is, as you probably know, Gaelic for 'pretending you're not at home by hiding behind the sofa with the lights off when teenagers knock your door'.
As it happens, last night we actually were out, spending time at the pub surrounded by people with pale faces, scars, blood stains and bullet wounds. There was no make-up involved - it was just that sort of pub.
I thank you. Tell your friends. I'm here all month.
But every year Halloween gives the more Grinchy among us the chance to go on and on ad infinitum about trick-or-treat, this pesky new import from the colonies. How it's a Bad Thing. How it encourages kids to essentially go begging. How it terrorises the old folks. This is a new thing, they say, it's an unwanted import from that lot over the Atlantic, and therefore it must not stand.
But the thing is, I remember it as a kid. And I'm an old git, so it can't be that novel to us. I recall one time, when I was about seven, trying to get my own back on trick-or-treaters coming to the family home. I'd hide behind the dustbins at the side of the house and wait for them to approach. I'd emit a low, menacing moan. I'd make the bins judder. I'd then realise that I'd pretty much run out of things to do. They'd call me a pillock. It was a tradition, though.
And it has spawned a number of other traditions since then. The 'making sure you've bought a whole load of funpack chocolate and sweets' one. The 'putting them in a bowl by the door' one.
Or, if you're like us this year, the twin traditions of 'going out to the pub to drink Hobgoblin beer', then 'taking a whole load of uneaten chocolate and sweets into the office on Monday morning'.
(Image credit www.freeimages.co.uk)