Natalie Haynes: Please stop knocking my Halloween

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The Independent Online

It's 30 October, which is technically Halloween-eve, so I hope you have your pumpkins carved, your house haunted and your decorative bats poised overhead. I've had my flat decorated for a week, obviously, because I love Halloween. This can come as no surprise to those of you who have seen me below my headshot – I have dressed like a witch since I was 15 years old and that is unlikely to change now, since I am statistically likely to resemble a witch more and more as the years go by.

Every year, some killjoy tells me Halloween is an American import and I should save myself for good old-fashioned British Bonfire Night, but answer me this: shouldn't there be two days, less than a week apart, where I can crack my teeth on toffee apples?

Besides, as a nation, we're pretty sold on spookiness – apparently, 60 per cent of us reckon we wouldn't buy a house if we found out it was haunted, which suggests that considerably more of us than I would have guessed believe in ghosts. Or have seen The Haunting too many times. But my recent trip to America has left me with massive Hallow-envy. Who knew you could buy bat-print doormats? Not me, or I would have bought one years ago, to go with the haunted tree we've put up in the hall. I once walked past a house in LA that had a giant animatronic black cat in the front yard, whose eyes flashed and head moved when you approached.

It also made a slight creaking sound, possibly from lack of use, since pedestrians in LA are rarer than the ghosts of unicorns.

For this week's trick-or-treaters, the research is in, and it turns out that Cambridge is likely to provide you with the best haul.

The property prices are high, which theoretically means the owners have cash to spend on barrels of sweets; and the traffic levels are low, which means that even in a borderline sugar coma, you're unlikely to get hit by a car. The second best place would be my flat, as I always buy-in coffin-shaped chocolates, and then hardly anyone turns up (perhaps that witchy reputation is more serious than I have so far considered). But even this is better than my previous flat, which was in the roof of a huge Victorian house. No child, it turned out, wanted sweets enough to walk up 70 stairs to get them. And since there would have been a net calorie deficit on the trip, I could hardly blame them.