Halloween? It's just another day at the office

I went around on public transport wearing an enormous foam pumpkin on my head
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The Independent Online

Thank Lucifer that Halloween is over. Being a natural party-pooper, it's yet another "special" day where I have to give up my pursuit of personal happiness in favour of my children's needs.

My Canadian wife is quite the opposite, and loves Halloween. Being half-Canadian, my kids learnt at an early age that Halloween didn't necessarily mean dressing up as a witch or a ghoul. In North America you can dress up as anything – a car, traffic lights, an estate agent. When my daughter, Parker, was only four years old, she was dispatched to her nursery Halloween disco dressed as a rather awkward clown. Every single other little girl in her class was a witch and she got a lot of (broom) stick for not being scary – until the classroom assistant walked in and had a full-blown panic attack as she was coulrophobic.

My son, Jackson, has worn the same costume for the past three years. He becomes Vambanana – a vampire banana (his idea). So, he was most upset to hear on Five Live that the killer-banana costume was now one of the most popular in fancy dress stores.

I tend not to dress up for things. If I'm honest, I'm a bit sick and tired of the whole thing, as it's what I do in my day job. Occasionally however, I am persuaded to don a "work" costume to do parental things. One Easter, when Parker was very small, I arrived dressed as a rabbit and enthralled her little friends by pretending to be the Easter Bunny. Parker looked suitably impressed with this illustrious visitor, and seemed totally fooled herself. It was only when putting her to bed that night that she let slip her real feelings. I asked her whether she was excited that the Easter Bunny had chosen us to visit that day? She looked at me pityingly and replied: "Dad, I know it was you but I just didn't want to spoil it for the others." She was one smart five-year old.

In about 2004, when I had a major deal with the BBC and was allowed to pretty much indulge any comedic whim I fancied, I came up with a character called Pumpkinhead. It wasn't very thought through, but involved me travelling around on public transport wearing an enormous foam pumpkin on my head, very much in the style of Frank Sidebottom. Unlike Mr Sidebottom (or maybe not) I hadn't really got much further with the idea and after three or four days of filming, it was shelved. There was a lot of that sort of thing going on for me in 2004. In hindsight, this might be why the BBC let me go … but I digress.

My television career's stumble, however, has been a boon for my Halloweens, because I still have Pumpkinhead. I spent most of the night just standing outside people's houses looking in through the window until someone called the police and I had to make a hasty exit. I ran across a nearby field, barely able to see where I was going, and ran headlong into a tree, broke Pumpkinhead, and knocked myself unconscious. When I came round, I managed to stagger home and avoid too much family questioning. I'm definitely going away next year.

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