childhood halloween parties

A list of things you’ll only remember if you went to tragic Halloween parties growing up

Bring back apple bobbing!!!

So – don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love going to Halloween parties as an adult. Any excuse to wear underwear as outerwear and drink until I’m sick sounds like a good night to me. But when did the holiday (if you can really call it that) become all about that? Whatever happened to budget kids’ party games, trick-or-treating and sitting around eating hotdogs and jacket potatoes?

It feels like a lifetime ago now, but part of me would give anything to go back and watch a straight-to-DVD spooky kids’ film before getting the ever-living shit scared out of me by a neighbour who kept answering the door dressed as Pennywise.

Just in case your memory has failed you, allow me to show you everything you used to enjoy about Halloween when you were younger. These are eight things you’ll only remember if you went to tragic Halloween parties growing up:

Apple bobbing

childhood halloween parties

Sorry, who decided dunking your carefully-painted face into a vat of cold water and fruit would be a fun idea for a party game? Just imagine five or six kids, barely any teeth in their gums, being told to bite down on watery apples, with the person collecting the most (somehow) winning.

In the US, they have things like pumpkin patches, haunted houses and candy corn. Over here on hell island, we’ve got mixing bowls covered with card; filled to the brim with week-old apples and tap water.

Costumes made out of binbags

Now, I’m not sure whether it’s just a product of growing up in a house who “didn’t believe in Halloween”, but my parents always refused to spend money on spooky costumes from the shop. Every year without fail, my mum would strap a binbag around my body and cut it until it somewhat resembled a dress. And, every year without fail, I’d tell people I was a witch or a cat or Morticia.

Guess what? We looked like NONE of those things. We were just kids wearing binbags.

Dragging a plastic pumpkin basket around while trick-or-treating


Obviously if you’re going trick-or-treating, you have to look and feel the part. This means clutching a 50p pumpkin-shaped basket around with you while wearing a binbag dress, your skeleton-iest leggings and your pointiest witches’ hat. Once you’d arrived back home, you placed that plastic container in the corner of the living room and forgot about it for 364 days, while it collected dust. Unless you briefly remembered it again and used it as a receptacle for your toys.

Those cobweb decorations that always get stuck in your hair

Not only were these the bane of my life; but the chronic ruiners of every budget costume as well. They hung on your friends’ doorframes attracting static, so you’d spend all weekend picking it out of your freshly-red-spray-painted hair. Special dishonourable mentions go to the parents who hung it up like beaded curtains, so you had no choice but to walk through it if you wanted to get to the jacket potato buffet.

That one neighbour who filled your basket with coins

Everyone had one of these three neighbours: The genuinely terrifying one who opened the door wearing a Doctor Who-style gas mask or Freddy Kreuger costume, the one who always had a go at you for being “too old” to trick-or-treat, and the one who handed out cold, hard cash.

Okay, so by “cold, hard cash,” I mean literal pennies. But it was always a thrill when, at seven years old, you scored enough 1ps in your bag to buy a Freddo. Who needs free sweets when you could just have the financial autonomy to buy your own?!

Monster Mash and Somebody’s Watching Me playing on repeat


I can’t lie, this isn’t even a low point. Both of these songs are undeniable anthems – and did you even celebrate Halloween if your mum didn’t get you and your best mate performing the Thriller dance to all your relatives? It’s almost like a scene from guided mindfulness: It’s getting dark outside, you can smell chilli cooking in the other room. Your mum is putting out sweets and a lit pumpkin on your doorstep as you put the finishing touches of fake blood on your face. What’s playing in the background? Rockwell or Bobby Pickett. Always Rockwell or Bobby Pickett.

The witches’ hat filled with ‘organs’

Another one on the “shit party games” roster – although I can’t say I didn’t live for it. Your mum definitely filled an Asda witches’ hat with cold spaghetti (hair), peeled grapes (eyeballs) and candy teeth (you can probably guess). She probably passed it around you and your friends as you squealed with cold tomato sauce all over your hands. At least one of your pals got caught sneaking the grapes into their mouth.

Drunk parents keeping you up until midnight with karaoke

So, you’ve spent the entire evening pretending to get really into apple bobbing, collecting your freshly-won pennies and dancing around to Thriller until your feet turn blue and bloody. You’d think now would be the perfect time for a refreshing, eight-hour sleep, right?

You thought WRONG. Because this is where the fun truly begins. Your mum’s been on the pint-bags of red wine and test-tubes of Crème de Menth since 6PM. She’s just invited your aunty over and they’re going to be belting out Sweet Caroline for hours. It’s not a Halloween song – but that doesn’t matter. If she’s up, you’re up. The only other alternative is spending a sleepless night in bed, sobbing into your pillow.

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