There’s plenty of frightfully good ways for you and your family to join the scary fun

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When I was little, Halloween was never a big deal in this country. Occasionally someone would throw a party and people were asked to dress up – but usually this was because it coincided with someone’s birthday rather than a full out celebration for everything spooky.

There would be the obligatory games like bobbing apples but not much beyond that. And the costumes were generally never much to write home about either – a hastily home-made pointed hat complete with green face paint or scary ghost costume – which generally meant one of your mum’s old sheets with a couple of “eyes” cut out of it.

But nowadays the whole event is completely commercialised. It seems that the moment the summer holidays ended the shops started stocking witches’ hats and ghoulish costumes galore.

And ever since we have come home from sunny Spain my kids have been pestering me to get them some outlandish costumes. This is despite the fact they still have plenty to choose from left over from previous years’ of Halloween activities.

And now they are old enough to have cottoned on to the Trick or Treat phenomenon.

For the first time last year we took them round the streets in their crazy costumes. To our surprise most people seemed totally prepared for this, having ready-to-hand supplies of sweets and crisps to dump into the eagerly outstretched buckets.

Now the kids want a repeat performance this year, so I am going to be decking at least the eldest two out in full Halloween kit, with pumpkin style buckets in order to take them round.

However, if this isn’t for you, why not come to Sheffield city centre this weekend for s family fun?

This year Sheffield City Council is hosting its annual brilliant Fright Night experience, which regularly attracts more than 40,000 people to the city centre.

Attractions for 2011 include a Giant Puppet, urban dance, the Titan Robot, Shopping Trolley Grannies, Fire Horse, Ghostbusters car, Dr Who Tardis and Dalek, a Scream Tent, a Giant Cycling Hippo, fancy dress catwalk, funfair rides/stalls, samba band, food stalls, children’s activities & craft stalls. There is even a smaller version for younger children, who may be too timid to join in the bigger celebrations, called Fright Night’s Little Brother. For more information visit:

If you prefer, the new Woodland Discovery Centre in Ecclesall Woods will be hosting its first ever autumn family fun day on Sunday. For information visit: