For Sale: 1.8 kg of assorted sweets. The surplus of confectionery is the result of an unfortunate trick or treat incident a few years ago.

The wife and I had argued for many hours over who was going to escort our two young children, dressed up in Halloween outfits, carrying pumpkins to demand money with menaces from neighbours. The alternative was even worse - to stay at home and answer the door to similar young, lovable street urchins.

When I realised United were playing in Europe, I quickly opted for the latter. The doorbell kept ringing and I dutifully kept answering the door, said ‘Ooh what a lovely outfit’ and proffered the tray of treats.

The game started. The doorbell kept ringing incessantly. I answered the door for the thousandth time. When I returned, United had scored. The doorbell rang again. I ignored it. The doorbell rang again. I turned the lights off and went into the back room. The doorbell rang again - constantly.

I opened the door. ‘Happy Halloween ! Trick or treat’. ‘You know what lads. I think I’ll take my chances and go for a trick.’ ‘Oh come on mister. Can’t we just have some of those sweets or a quid ?’. ‘No. I’m sorry. Good-bye’.

Next morning, I was relieved to see no eggs splattered on my windows and no excrement lying with the morning post.

However, I did notice some minor graffiti chalked on the front wall. I quickly washed it off. Only it didn’t come off. It wasn’t chalk but looked like wax. I washed it off with hot water and detergent. Only it didn’t come off. I tried bicarbonate of soda with neighbours watching me. Finally I got gloves and a face mask and used hydrochloric acid but the single word stubbornly remained.

Still, my kids and wife thought this was absolutely hilarious and there was a silver lining to this cloud. When we gave people directions to our house, we closed with

‘Turn right. Our house is half way down on the left, after the tree with IDIOT written on the front wall.’