There are plenty of people who loathe or even fear many of our festive days such as Christmas, Easter or Valentine's Day. For me it's Halloween. Being of a certain age and being without child, this event which has been popularised and commercialised in America for over a century and more recently foisted upon Australians means nothing to me.
What all these festivities have in common is that they have part or all of their origins in Christian celebrations. But there is one important practice that sits Halloween apart. There are no hordes of bunnies, Santas (unfortunately) or potential lovers (also unfortunately) that come banging on my front door.
Where I live, the number of children roaming in various sized gangs have increased to frightening numbers in recent years. They knock or yell trick-or-treat, whatever that means. To me, it's a bit like the Mormon missionaries who come a knockin and valiantly try to convert me at my door. Imagine if they came every 10 minutes. At dinner time. There are no packs of Mormons but there are packs of children who are wandering the streets harassing households over several hours. There is little relief.
So what is the best way to avoid the whole Halloween thing that is being foisted upon non believers?
1. Turn your house into a fortress.
After the first seriously annoying year, I decided to fortify the entrance to my house. Yes, believe it or not, I first laid down a sprinkler system to dampen and discourage would be attackers. Then I moved large pots and placed them on the path to my door to impede their progress. I closed the blinds and closed the door. This deterred most, but alas, not the most determined treaters who still made it to the door.
2. Leave Town.
Last year, I reviewed my unsuccessful strategy of fortifying the house and decided not to flee to the outback but out to a restaurant. This was quite successful and there was not a single trick-or-treating costume wearing child in sight. This strategy is recommended.
3. Hang a 'No Halloween Here' sign
I haven't tried this wimpy method as I thought it may unfortunately make you unpopular with your neighbours or make you a target of abuse or even vandalism.
So apart from putting up the white flag and converting to Halloween, If anyone has some practical suggestions of the best ways to avoid being harassed at your own home by hordes of children, you're welcome to post. You would be providing a useful service to your fellow Australians.
For many years I placed the sprinkler strategically near the front door. It was connected to a hose that disappeared around the corner of the house. It spoke loudly enough that I never needed to turn on the tap.