Halloween night in the neighbourhood. What a nightmare.

Ghoulish dribbling, wolfish eyes. And they weren't even wearing masks.

These were the adults, pushing around children in prams who were too young to know the difference between Elm Street and Sesame Street.

Or dropping off car loads of kids to launch them on a gluttonous begging fest around the neighbourhood. Most of them I had never seen in our hood before.


Not that people cannot go trick or treating where they like, right? My own daughter shipped out to stay with a friend in Papamoa, having heard the Eastside lolly givers were more generous.

Celebrating any festival is great if it brings the family or community together. One of my friends had a gathering with a spooky themed feast. Or if it means a night of neighbourly bonding.

But what I witnessed was kids more intent on fleecing poor unsuspecting neighbours out of their last Werther's Original.

True, some kids seemed to be getting into the spirit in dress up, but others just had a token witch's hat or zombie mask as they walked around, not with a pocket or jar for lollies, but whole shopping baskets. I saw one with a back pack. Such greed for sugar and barely a smile for the giver, scary indeed.

In some suburbs, it was a case of one-upmanship in what offerings you doled out to the door-knocking ghostly beggars. Mount mums doled out colouring books and moisturisers. Papamoa didn't disappoint in quantity, if not so much in quality.

As for Matua, that seemed the place to be. A friend posted on Facebook that her husband had somehow managed to turn trick or treating with the kids into a pub crawl.

"Kids are back home tucked up in bed. Lord knows where their father is."

More friends from around the neighbourhood reported a sighting of the Matua fathers in charge of trick or treating who apparently had had a pit stop to sample some home brew.

Who can blame them? Ferrying around hordes of sugar-fuelled little people requires fuel of one's own.

Yes I am the Grinch of Trick or Treat. And the countdown to the silly season has only just begun.

Today is Guy Fawkes, where health and safety laws have put out the fire on organised community enjoyment, such as the long standing family orientated celebrations at St Mary's School.

Instead expect to spend the evening jumping out your skin at random firecrackers.

We have already had the Melbourne Cup. Racing days are such fun to dress up and attend with friends, but again, excess can turn a fun filled event of bubbles into a bacchanalian orgy.

I feel sorry for the woman now known as "the lady in the blue dress" since viral photo circulated of her during Melbourne Cup festivities of her riding the wheelie bin and tackling a guy to the ground, all in her dainty fascinator.

Then there is the dreaded run-up to Christmas. I used to love Christmas but now it is spoiled with gaudy money-grabbing commercialism that just makes me want to close my eyes and wake up on a beach in January. The fun of Santa lists unravelled by greed, the delight of Christmas decorations marred by commercial excess.

One Christmas celebration I do always love going to is the annual Christmas lights tour, where people decorate their houses to enchant others.

Go to places like Plover Place on Christmas Eve and you will see a true community celebration - there is no one selling anything, just gold coins for hospice if you can.

Annual festivals are what bring us together as people.

It would be a pity if they reflected our worst human tendencies towards greed and debauchery and self-interest rather than genuine celebrations that spread joy that doesn't cost a bag of lollies, an embarrassing hangover or a Christmas overdraft.