It was just past midnight, the first day of November, and the ladies were relaxing once more.
"Thank goodness that's over for another year," sighed Deirdre.
"I know what you mean," said Bridget, "every year I say I'm looking forward to it, but, well, I don't know.." Her voice trailed off as she focused on the liquid, gently bubbling away in an iron pot in front of them.
The younger of the trio piped up. "I just don't understand mortals any more."
"It's not just you, Hilda, I think we all feel the same," said Bridget, stirring the brew gently. "Time was when Halloween really meant something."
"Now I think it's just like any other festival. It's definitely gone commercial."
Deirdre pulled the cape closely around her thin shoulders and stared glumly into the glowing coals. "I remember when it was different," she muttered darkly. "I bet you a winter's kindling that none of those humans we saw tonight could even bloody pronounce Samhain, let alone understand its true meaning."
"I know, dear, I know."
"I mean, what's this 'trick-or-treat' malarkey supposed to be all about? It just seems to be an excuse to push sugar on unsuspecting kids. They'll ruin their teeth. I mean, none of us have perfect teeth..."
"I'll have you know my tooth has done me very well this last 800 years, Deirdre."
"But it's different for us, Bridget. We are witches, after all. We're supposed to be, well, crone-like."
"And what is it with the costumes they're wearing these days?"
"I know! I remember when you could at least get the odd bit of witchiness going on. You know, pointy hat, black cape, maybe even a hazel broom if the parents were being sufficiently middle-class about the whole endeavour. But now it's so random. I swear I saw twelve Spidermen last night. It was like a Fathers For Justice conference."
The three ladies paused as the fire crackled and sparked. Deirdre reached out and carefully decanted the now-boiling contents of the vessel into three broad cups.
"Right. Who's for milk and sugar?"