By Corinne Yeadon, of the Being Better private therapy practice in Newmarket Street, Skipton

AS a child, Halloween was a test of resourcefulness, cutting out eyeholes in bed sheets and on one occasion annihilating the ‘winter curtains’ for use as a fetching green velvet, wizard cloak.

There were no pumpkins back then, the arduous toil of carving out swedes was a time consuming but nonetheless joyous task. Keeping the candle upright in the swede was a job in itself, let alone ensuring it remained lit.

The thrill of roaming the neighbourhood, escaping angry dogs and knocking on doors while strangulating a Halloween ditty was adventure enough. ‘Trick or treat’ was not yet in our vocabulary.

The added incentive was hard cash rather than fun-size chocolate and sweets.

I recall the sense of glee of jangling pockets of coins which would be pooled and divided up at the end of the evening. This prompted disdain and criticisms of “begging” from certain quarters of the community; on reflection, I call it initiative.

Supermarkets, independent retailers and budget shops are packed with decorations, pumpkins, confectionary, costumes and all things spooky. Halloween is big business and is becoming an increasingly popular festival.

Across the pond they have long since placed huge emphasis on Halloween which has begun to filter over here.

I recently asked an American friend why Halloween is so big in the States. I was reliably informed it is not about candy but an opportunity for neighbourhoods to share and come together. The costumes are not necessarily scary but fun. Houses are spectacularly decorated with thought and creativity. Neighbours and friends, big and small, come together, without the pressure or sense of duty that often accompanies other festivals.

It is indeed a powerful thing when communities come together.

Whether it’s Halloween, All Saints or Samhain, being part of something and a sense of belonging works wonders for wellbeing.