by Robert Williams
It was 7.20 on Hallowe'en night. Des had made sure that he had closed all his windows, switched all the lights off and turned the television off. To any passer-by, it appeared that Des's house was empty. He went and crouched below the living room window, and waited.
At exactly 7.25, his doorbell rang. Des hid under the window, waiting for the doorbell to ring again. Sure enough, ten seconds later, it did. Then ten seconds later it rang a third time. Des waited a few more seconds and then, heaving a sigh of relief, stood up.
But to his horror, the doorbell then rang a fourth time. Des ducked back down again.
"Four times?!" he gasped. "He never rings four times!!"
Des carefully crept up and peered through the window.
"It's not him!!!" he exclaimed - for Dickie the Vicar's churchmobile was nowhere to be seen.
Yes, this wasn't Des hiding from Hallowe'en trick-or-treaters - this was a performance Des went through every night, hiding from Dickie the Vicar who would come calling on him to come to his charity fund raising disco at the church hall. Meanwhile his front doorbell kept on ringing.
"Well this means it's obviously okay to answer the door then," said Des to himself. "All right, I'm coming, I'm coming!!"
Des opened the front door, and standing there was Wayne, wearing a scary ghoulish mask.
"We wish yer a merry Christmas, we wish yer a merry Christmas, we wish yer a merry Christmas and an 'appy new year!" sung Wayne.
"What?!" said Des. "I thought it was Hallowe'en!"
"Oh yeah!!" exclaimed Wayne. He started singing again. "We wish yer a merry Hallowe'en, we wish yer a merry Hallowe'en, we wish yer a merry Hallowe'en and an 'appy...um..."
"No, no, no, you're supposed to say 'trick or treat'!" said Des.
"Oh yeah!!" exclaimed Wayne. "Trick or treat!!"
"Well I'm not giving you a treat, that's for sure," said Des. "What's the trick?"
"Hi there Des!" said Dickie the Vicar, coming up behind Wayne.
"Oh brilliant," said Des. "Thanks a bunch, Wayne."
"I'm just here to invite you to a fabbo charity disco..."
"Sorry Dickie, I can't come!" said Des.
"Oh botherations," said Dickie. "Why ever not?!"
"Because...um..." mumbled Des, quickly trying to invent an excuse. "Because I'm going to a Hallowe'en party!"
"Sounds fabbo!" said Dickie. "Can I come?"
"And me!!" exclaimed Wayne.
"Well...umm..." mumbled Des.
"What time does it start?" said Dickie.
"8.00!" said Wayne.
"What?!" said Des.
"Groovy!! I'll see you there!" said Dickie, despite neither Des nor Wayne having actually mentioned a venue for this fictional party. "I know, I'll just go down the street and invite everyone else, I'm sure they'll all want to come as well!! Ta-ra!!" He disappeared off down the street knocking on everyone else's doors.
"Oh great," said Des.
"Hey, I can't wait for the Hallowe'en party!!" said Wayne, excitedly.
"Wayne, there is no Hallowe'en party!" said Des. "Well...obviously there is now, since Dickie's inviting the whole street."
"Great!" said Wayne.
"So now what are we supposed to do?!" said Des. "And why on earth did you have to say it starts at 8.00?!"
"I thought it did!" said Wayne.
"Do you realise that only gives us half an hour?!" said Des. "Hmmm...I know, we'll go and ask Mick, he'll know what to do."
So they went round Mick's house and rang the doorbell.
"What do you lot want?!" moaned Mick when he answered the door. "If you've come here trick-or-treating, I'm not interested."
"No, we're not trick-or-treating, we've come to..."
"Trick or treat!!" exclaimed Wayne.
"Shut up Wayne," said Des. "As I was saying, we've come to ask your advice. We've got 35 minutes...well, more like 34 now, to organise a Hallowe'en party."
"Great," said Mick. "Best of luck then." He went to close the door.
"But we don't know what to do!" whined Des.
Mick tutted. "Look...just get some toffee apples...a Jack O'Lantern...and some fancy dress, you know witches, ghosts, skeletons, come on, it can't be that difficult!"
"Hang on, I'll just make a note of that," said Des. "Oh, I haven't got anything to write with, or anything to write on, for that matter..."
"Des, it's not exactly difficult!" said Mick. "Look, why don't you go round to Mrs Greasy's cafe?"
"What? Voluntarily?!" said Des.
"Yes!" said Mick. "She'll have some ideas! She always celebrates Hallowe'en night in a big way!"
"Does she?" said Des. "I didn't know that! On the other hand, I've never once been round her cafe on Hallowe'en night so I suppose I wouldn't!"
Des and Wayne headed off down to the cafe, where, going by Mick's word, they expected the place to be decked out with Hallowe'en decorations. Instead, it was exactly the same as usual. Des and Wayne walked inside the deserted cafe.
"Oi Mrs Greasy!" shouted Des.
They heard Mrs Greasy thumping downstairs and walk into the cafe.
"What do you want?!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy.
"Woah, scary!!" said Des, seeing Mrs Greasy look exactly the same as she usually did.
"What are you talking about?!" said Mrs G. "And get a move on, I'm trying to watch 'The Good Life', you know, the one where they have to go to bed early but Margot and Jerry disturb them with their party!"
"Mick says you always go big for Hallowe'en," said Des. "Although quite how you can go any bigger..."
"Watch it!" said Mrs G.
"But the only scary thing I can see round here is that bowl of custard on the table which is presumably the same bowl of custard you served me this morning!" said Des.
"Every year for the past fifteen years I've celebrated Hallowe'en with a massive extravaganza at my cafe," said Mrs G. " Each year I dressed up as a witch with my cauldron, borrowed Clive's black cat, made some toffee apples, lit the place in a spooky green light and put a Jack O'Lantern in the window!!"
"But I can't see any of that!" said Des.
"Because in those past fifteen years precisely zero people have come, so this year I decided not to bother!" said Mrs G. "And then you two turn up! Well, I'm not setting it all up just for you two."
"Oh, there's no need," said Des. "All we want is to borrow all your Hallowe'en things like your cauldron, your witch's costume and your Jack O'Lantern! Thing is, we're holding our own Hallowe'en party in 27 minutes!"
"Sounds great, can I come?" said Mrs G.
"I suppose so, everyone else is," said Des. "So like I say, can we borrow all your Hallowe'en stuff?!"
"Haven't got it any more, I sold it onto Dickie the Vicar," said Mrs G.
"Oh no," groaned Des. "Come on Wayne."
Des and Wayne reluctantly headed down to the church hall where Dickie the Vicar, as ever, was hosting his nightly charity disco to a patronage of zero people.
"Hey Dickie, can we have a word!" shouted Des over the music, which was Status Quo as usual.
"Hi there Des and Mick!" greeted Dickie at the decks.
"It's Wayne, actually!" shouted Des.
"Sorry, hi there Wayne and Mick!" shouted Dickie. "Glad you could join me at my fabbo Hallowe'en-themed disco!!"
"Hallowe'en-themed?!?!" shouted Des. "I can't see anything Hallowe'en-themed!!" The interior of the church hall indeed looked exactly the same as it usually did on disco nights.
"That's because, as a religious man, I don't agree with the concept of Hallowe'en!!" shouted Dickie.
"Riiiight," shouted Des. "Well, we were just wondering, Mrs Greasy said she sold you a load of Hallowe'en props and costumes, so if you're not using them then perhaps we could borrow them for the night?!"
"What do you need them for?!" shouted Dickie.
"We're, um, going to a Hallowe'en party..."
"Sounds fab, can I come?!"
"Well, yes, but can we borrow the things?!" shouted Des.
"I told you Des, I haven't got them!" said Dickie. Des didn't remember Dickie telling them that. "As a religious man, I don't agree with the concept of Hallowe'en!! So I sold them all to Mike the Manic Mechanic!!"
Des groaned once again.
"See you at the Hallowe'en party, Des!!" shouted Dickie as Des and Wayne left the church hall.
With time rapidly running out before Dickie the Vicar and the entirety of Des's street were expecting to attend a Hallowe'en party at an as yet unannounced location, Des rushed over to Mike's Manic Motors, with Wayne still tagging along. They walked into the workshop, where they were shocked to be confronted by a skeleton. Actually, it was Mike the Manic Mechanic, wearing a bodysuit with a skeleton imprinted on it.
"Hi there Des and Wayne, what can I do for you?!" said Mike. "Only make it snappy, I've got a party to go to in a few mins!"
"Party?" said Des. "Would that possibly be a Hallowe'en party?!"
"No, it's the Liberal Democrat party," said Mike.
"Oh," said Des.
"Durrr, of course it's a Hallowe'en party!!!" said Mike. "Why do you think I'm dressed like this?! I'm going with a skeleton crew! GEDDIT?!?!?"
"Ha ha, that's actually quite funny!" laughed Des. "(Although I'm not quite sure why)."
"Now cut to the chase Des, what are you after?!" said Mike.
"Wait a minute...what time does the party start?"
"8.00!" said Mike.
"Brilliant!!" exclaimed Des. "Wayne, our problems are over!! We'll just send everyone over to Mike's party! Where is it?!"
"What are you talking about?!" said Mike. "I'm not having your rabble coming to my party!! Invites only!! Gatecrashers will be ejected!!"
"Oh botherations," said Des. "Well all we want is to borrow your Hallowe'en things if you don't need them!"
"What, all that stuff Dickie dumped round here this morning?!" said Mike. "A tatty old witch's outfit, a battered cauldron and a manky old pumpkin?! No use to me, I dumped them round Clive's house!"
"For goodness sake," groaned Des. "Come on, Wayne."
They rushed back down to Clive's house, where Clive had just emerged from his front door, dressed in exactly the same outfit as Mike.
"I suppose you're going to Mike the Manic Mechanic's party as well," said Des.
"Yes I am," said Clive. "As you can see, I'm going with a skeleton crew."
"Mike's already done that joke," said Des. "But it's still funny!"
"You're not coming!" said Clive. "Invites only!"
"We don't want to come, we're holding our own, not-as-good Hallowe'en party," said Des. "All we need is that witch's costume, cauldron and pumpkin that Mike said he dumped round here earlier."
"That old tat?" said Clive. "I haven't got it!"
"Oh no," groaned Des, growing ever more weary. "Who have you dumped it onto then?"
"Mrs Greasy's just been round and picked it all up," said Clive. "And my cat, for some reason."
"Mrs Greasy?!" groaned Des.
"Now out of my way otherwise I'll be late!" exclaimed Clive.
A now very tired Des, and a still enthusiastic Wayne, went back to Mrs Greasy's cafe to find the place had been transformed into a Hallowe'en extravaganza. There was a Jack O'Lantern in the window, Clive's black cat was walking around, the place was lit in a spooky green light, and Mrs Greasy was dressed as in her witch's outfit, with a long false nose and boils all over her face, stirring up a mysterious brew in the cauldron on the table.
"Hubble bubble toil and trouble!!" cackled Mrs Greasy in an evil, witchy way.
"That smells disgusting!" said Des, peering into the cauldron. "What is it?!"
"That custard that you didn't eat this morning!" exclaimed the Mrs Greasy witch.
"Yum yum!!" said Wayne.
"Urgh!" exclaimed Des. "Anyway, I don't understand this, why is your Hallowe'en extravaganza back on?!"
"Changed my mind," said Mrs G. "I'm allowed to, aren't I?!"
"Oh," said Des. "Didn't take you long to set up, did it?! How did you know it was Clive who had ended up with your Hallowe'en gear?!"
"Put a message on an internet forum, didn't I!" said Mrs G.
"A what?!" said Des.
"Never mind that, what's the problem anyway?" said Mrs G.
"We wanted all these things for our own Hallowe'en party," said Des.
"You're having a Hallowe'en party?!" said Mrs G. "Sounds rubbish! Where are you holding it?"
"I don't know, we haven't decided yet," said Des.
"What are you planning to do in it?" asked Mrs G.
"I don't know, we haven't decided yet," said Des.
"When does it start?" asked Mrs G.
Des looked at his watch. "In two minutes."
"Hmmm..." said Mrs G. "Well the answer's obvious! Hold your party right here!! You get your party sorted, and I get loads of customers!! Everyone's a winner!! Umm...you have got people coming, haven't you?!"
"Oh yes, Dickie the Vicar's invited the whole street," said Des.
"Excellent news," said Mrs G. "Well you can go and tell them all the party's happening right here, and in the meantime I'll cook up some smashing Hallowe'en treats!!"
"Oh gawd," groaned Des. Leaving Wayne to start consuming the contents of Mrs Greasy's cauldron, Des headed down the street to knock on everybody's door.
"Hello," said Des to the first family who had all their Hallowe'en gear on ready for the party. "I'm organising the Hallowe'en party, just letting you know that it's now taking place at Mrs Greasy's cafe."
The excited look on their faces suddenly disappeared.
"Um...there's a really good film on tonight on television...sorry, I don't think we'll be able to make it!"
As Des went down the street, he got the same reaction - as soon as he informed them of the venue for the party, each family strangely seemed to come up with a reason for not being able to come.
"Oh well, only Mick left I suppose," sighed Des, ringing his doorbell.
"Now what?!" said Mick. "I hope you're not trick-or-treating..."
"Trick or treat!!" said Des. Mick frowned. "Only joking!!"
"So what do you want?" sighed Mick.
"Fancy coming to a Hallowe'en party right now at Mrs Greasy's cafe?!" exclaimed Des.
"Now why in a thousand million years would I possibly have any desire to do that of my own free will?" said Mick.
"'Cos it'll be FUN!!" exclaimed Des.
"You clearly have a different definition of the word 'fun' to me," said Mick. "Well I'm sorry Des, I'm stopping tonight in to have 'fun' watching a fascinating five hour documentary about 16th century Norwegian tapestry!"
"You can still come, why don't you just record it onto your DVD recorder?!" said Des.
"I haven't got a DVD recorder," said Mick.
"Well...record it onto your video recorder then!" said Des.
"I haven't got a video recorder," said Mick.
"Well...record it onto your reel to reel tape recorder then!" said Des.
"Des, I am not coming to your stupid Hallowe'en party, and that's FINAL!!"
Ten minutes later Des and Mick were walking along the road to Mrs Greasy's cafe.
"It was a good idea of mine to lend you that old Betamax video recorder I had in the attic!" said Des.
"Which is covered in dust and cobwebs," said Mick. "And thanks to you, so now is my living room."
"So very appropriate for tonight then!" said Des. "And I do like that goblin mask you're wearing, it suits you!"
"At least it means nobody will recognise me," sighed Mick.
"'Allo Des!! 'Allo Mick!" said Wayne when they walked into the cafe.
"Hubble bubble toil and trouble!" greeted their friendly neighbourhood witch, Mrs Greasy. "Where's everyone else then?"
"Um...well...they might all be...um...a bit late..." muttered Des. "Dickie the Vicar's supposed to be coming though!"
"Well where is he?" said Mrs G.
"Dunno," said Des.
"I'll ring him up, find out where he's got to," said Mrs G. And so she did.
"Well then," said Mrs G when she had finished the call. "What a couple of numpties you are. He's not coming! He said that, as a religious man, he is against the whole concept of Hallowe'en and as such feels that it would be inappropriate for him to attend the party!"
"What?!?!?!" exclaimed Des.
"So this is it then, is it?" said Mick. "You, me, Wayne and the witch."
"Yup," said Des. "What a fantastic night it's going to be!" Mick groaned.
Half an hour later, Des and Mick were sitting at the table bored to tears. Mrs Greasy the witch was just standing there stirring her cauldron chanting "hubble bubble toil and trouble!" over and over again, while Wayne continued eating the custard out of it whilst amazingly not managing to throw up.
"Oh come on Mick, give us some ideas, what do people actually do at Hallowe'en parties?!" said Des.
"Um...bobbing toffee apples," said Mick.
"I haven't got any!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy.
"What else do they do?" said Des.
"I don't know!" said Mick. "I've never been to a Hallowe'en party. I've always hated Hallowe'en."
"Me too," said Des. "I know what we'll do. We'll pop over to Clive and Mike's Hallowe'en party, see what they're up to and perhaps pick up some ideas!"
"You certainly will not, their party is for invitees only!" declared Mrs Greasy. "If you go there, you will be branded as gatecrashers!"
"Ah, good point," said Des. "Mrs Greasy, have you got a couple of spare bedsheets?"
Before long, Des and Mick were walking down the street covered in white sheets. It being Hallowe'en, nobody gave them a second glance.
"He he, what a great idea of mine!" said Des. "Dressed as ghosts, we can gatecrash their party and nobody will know it's us!!"
"I'd like to know how you're going to explain to Mrs Greasy about these holes you've cut in her sheets for us to look out of," said Mick. "Oh, and just one other thing. Where exactly is this party taking place?"
"Oh...I don't know..." said Des
"What a shame, let's go home then," said Mick.
Just then they spotted someone walking along the road wearing a skeleton suit identical to that of Clive and Mike's.
"That'll be one of their skeleton crew!" said Des. "GEDDIT?!?! We'll follow them!"
They followed this individual and sure enough soon arrived at a house which was evidently the venue for a rather more lively Hallowe'en party than the one taking place at the cafe.
The skeleton person walked up the garden path and rang the doorbell. The two ghosts hid behind the door, and then when the skeleton was let in they quickly sneaked in afterwards.
Des and Mick found themselves in a house absolutely packed full of party-goers, all dressed in gory and frankly disturbing Hallowe'en outfits, dancing to loud music. They started to search around, barging through the hoards of people to see if they could get any hints for Hallowe'en-based activities.
"I don't know about you," shouted Des over the music, "but I can't really find much that's relevant round here!!"
"Pardon?!?!" exclaimed Mick.
"Actually, I don't much like this party!!" exclaimed Des. "I think I preferred the other one, and that's saying something!!"
"Come on then, let's go," exclaimed Mick.
The two men in sheets started to fight their way back through the maze of people.
"Phew I think we got away with it," said Des as they made it to the hallway. "Nobody could have recognised us dressed like this!"
But just then they heard a familiar voice come up behind them.
"Hi there Des and Mick! Didn't know you two had been invited!"
Des and Mick turned round and were shocked to find that it was the person in the skeleton outfit that they had followed to the party - and it was none other than Dickie the Vicar.
"What are you doing here?!?!" exclaimed Des.
"I couldn't miss a fabbo Hallowe'en party like this!!" said Dickie. "Who could?!?!"
"Eh????" said Des.
"Did I just hear the voice of Des Wednesday?!?!" exclaimed another familiar voice. "Wait till I get my hands on him!!"
"It's Clive!" said Des. "Let's get out of here!"
The two ghosts were chased out of the house by a skeleton crew. They ran all the way home, where Mick was furious to find that Des had set his old Betamax video recorder to the wrong channel, and had therefore recorded a faded repeat of 'Lucky Ladders', and it hadn't managed that very well, while Des quickly cancelled all plans to celebrate Hallowe'en the following year.
Copyright © Robert Williams