I love guising, though my role is minimal.
Usually, I’m the bouncer in the background, as the children do their party piece at neighbours’ doors. We have a stock joke that’s aired every year, and I provide the prompts if they forget the punchline.
“Knock knock, who’s there?”
“Bumblebee cold if you don’t wear your pants”.
I’m rewarded, as the kids always share any sweets they earn with me. I like the fizzy ones best.
However, the girls are getting older and the nephew has a nervous constitution, so we might not be doing an en famille trick or treat when the date rolls round on Tuesday.
Instead, like thousands of others whose guising days have passed, I will stay at home, draw the curtains, ignore the doorbell and pretend I’m out.
They’ll be couriering the wares of chains including Fat Hippo, which recently opened a restaurant on Edinburgh’s George Street and already has a concession in St James Quarter’s bowling alley and bar, Lane7. The two-year-old burger concept also has other restaurants across the UK, including Newcastle, London’s Soho, Birmingham and Manchester.
We tried delivery of one of their seasonal specials, along with some staples, which were biked along to us faster than a witch on an electric broomstick. Until the official creepy time is over, they’re offering the weird-looking black cheese balls (£8) and Hippo-ween Hand-cut Chips (£5.90), among other things, but we chose the delivery exclusive of the Hocus Porkus Burger (£14.90).
It seemed that the product development department had chucked all their dastardly ideas at this creation. It was Frankenstein-ian. My husband had to grapple with a black charcoal seeded bun that was overflowing, thanks to contents including a thick beef patty, bright orange American cheese, tortilla-crusted jalapeno poppers, a black pudding and bacon crumb, their tingly Hellacious Hippo hot sauce and garlic butter mayo.
This mixture reminded me of watercolour painting. The shades are appealing individually, but if you bung them all together, you get a soupy brown. It mainly tasted like meat, salt and garlic, but he was okay with that, except for the hard scratchings, since every encounter made him think he was going to lose a molar.
I had gone for the Kula Shaker Burger (£14.50), which wasn't bad. The two pieces of chicken were a bit dry, and the batter might have been crispy in its earlier life, but the cheese, salt and pepper chilli, bang bang pickles, lettuce and yum yum sauce combo gave it a hot tang that kept me obediently chomping my way through.
Both of these options came with a free side. We’d chosen tater tots - those fried mashed potato pompoms from the US - and waffle fries. These were dipped in a hot honey buffalo sauce (£1) and an oddly addictive smoked chilli jello (£1), with the texture of the gunge that was in so many kids TV game shows in the Nineties.
As I’m a real vinegar head, I’d also got a side of frickles (£5.90), aka fried gherkins. These might be better experienced in the restaurant, as they’d chilled and now had the consistency of trainer insoles. Also, I want bionic mouth-burning vinegar, not watery stuff.
The Crack Wings (£7.90) had a generous topping of smoked chilli, garlic butter mayo and Parmesan, but the batter was soggy and the meat wasn’t great. Perhaps it had been harvested from zombie poultry, whose wings had wasted away as it stumbled around looking for victims to peck to death.
In lieu of pudding, I tried their Mars Attack (£6.50) shake. This had been cleverly transported using a combo of clingfilm and cardboard cup holders, so not a drop was spilled en route, though I felt bad about the packaging waste. Thus, I was obliged to enjoy every calorific drop of this super sweet and dirty treat, which was made of vanilla soft serve, whipped cream and salted caramel and chocolate sauce, with lots of solid chocolate-y bits that had congregated at the bottom of the cup.
That was a guilty pleasure, but everything else left me feeling unsure overall about whether I’d been tricked or treated.
Their food might be better eaten near their kitchen, so any crispy things are fresh from the deep fat fryer.
Still, I’m not going there, or anywhere, this Halloween. When the date rolls round, the Grinch will think about ordering pizza instead.