Halloween has always been big in our house. Not as big as Christmas, obviously – and I probably buy into the whole commercialism of the festive season more than anyone else I know, including my children – but big enough. In fact I've always loved it, in spite of being unceremoniously ignored by our neighbours when my brother and I attempted trick-or-treating in the wilds of Suffolk when we were young, something we had picked up from the nearby US
air-force bases – "What are you doing?" people asked. "And why are you dressed up all funny?"
I love the fright masks, love the scary sweets, the chocolates made to look like spider-webs, love the fact that for weeks beforehand the supermarkets are full of useless plastic Halloween gifts. No, I don't answer the door to any trick-or-treaters after 7pm, but then I don't answer the door after 7pm on any other day of the year.
However, I fear I may be taking a little too much interest in the occasion, at least if last year's experience is anything to go by. As usual, I spent ages buying "Halloween-style" gifts from the shops up and down the Edgware Road, but instead of just giving them to the children, my wife and I devised a treasure hunt, placing them in various places around the garden. I then feigned a power-cut, telling the kids the electricity had been cut off, stalking around the house wearing a variety of different masks in the hope of frightening the living daylights out of them.
I thought the evening had gone to plan until I overheard my youngest describing their Halloween experience to a friend a few days later. "Our Halloween was OK, but I think Dad gets more enjoyment out of it than we do. This year we had to pretend to be scared while he ran around the house flashing a torch across his face. We liked the sweets, though."
Was I crestfallen? Well, only completely. But I have taken my daughters' lack of interest as a sign, and have recalibrated our celebrations accordingly. This year we're spending Halloween in Antigua. Where if anyone comes to our villa after 7pm I imagine it will only be to deliver two very large, very cold, gin and tonics.
Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'