I WAS dreading Halloween. Not that I have anything against ghoulies and ghosties and usually the thing that goes bump in the night is me, as I stagger to the bathroom.

Which is better than my wife Maria who, if she wakes up in the early hours, assumes it's morning.

I have followed her downstairs more than once to find her brewing tea and just in time to stop her making breakfast.

“Well what time is it?”

“One o'clock.”


When, indeed.

Anyway, I had prepared for trick or treat, and had a big bagful of fun size chocolate bars and buttons to give to any children brave enough to knock on the door of Old Grumpy, when Maria said: “You do realise what night it is?”

“Halloween?” I said, with one eyebrow sarcastically raised. Another seven inches and I could have been Roger Moore.

“United are playing Chelsea.”

“Oh, flipping heck,” I said. Or words to that effect. My sarcastic eyebrow wilted.

“It's all right,” she said. “I'll answer the door.”

Which put me in a bit of a quandary.

“Well, when you give the stuff out, will you get rid of the Crunchies first and try to hold back on the Cadbury's Buttons?”


“Because I like Buttons.”

Halloween is my excuse to over-buy and stock up on those two-for-one offers so there are lots left for me.

“All right,” she said. “But one thing you must promise.”

She had me over a barrel if I didn't want the match disrupted. But what did she want? New plunger for the sink? A bottle of Chanel? A weekend in Paris?


“Watch your language when I answer the door. If the match is anything like Sunday's, you'll have children running home screaming they've met the Bogeyman.”