WELL folks, autumn is well and truly upon us, and those 40C temps are nothing but a sticky, dream-like memory.

We can finally ‘chill’ and bid adios to forest fires, cucumber-sized cucarachas, and more importantly – those horrid hen parties that dress-up like nuns but piss on cathedrals.

Yep, it’s out with the mini-skirts and flip-flops, and in with the leathers and knee-high ‘hooker boots’ (….and that’s just Spanish men!)

It’s also that time when orange, overgrown fruits start cropping up everywhere (and no, I’m not referring to X-Factor’s Rylan Clark!)

Still, while we’re on the subject of Essex idiots, a teaching colleague cornered me in the staff room and shared some startling news.

“Have you heard?” she asked, in that grating Braintree accent. “Lessons are Halloween-themed on Wednesday, and all teachers HAVE to dress up.”

It sounded like skive, if you ask me. Plus, I already had sunken, blood-shot eyes on account of 40-hour weeks, mountains of marking and a growing dependency on Chivas Regal.

Anyway, as per usual, Halloween is an opportunity for Spain to bury age-old traditions and hop onto the American bandwagon.

In the past, families used to gather round graves and scoff picnics in honour of departed loved ones.

Nowadays, it’s all Scream masks and trick-or-treating. I don’t know why Madrid doesn’t just change its name to Minnesota.

It’s not that I’m anti-ghosts and ghouls. I grew up in the shadow of Pendle Hill, where talk of witches was an everyday thing.

Indeed, every local town seemed to have one – or at least a toothless old bag – like Ada from next door; the demon destroyer of casey footballs.

I just resent any type of ‘organised fun’ – like Comic Relief, where boring, bald Barclays workers exhibit their ‘crazy side’ by wearing their wives’ knickers to work.

Plus, I’ve got playground duty that day – and I’m not keen on the idea of monitoring the patio toilets dressed like a disfigured, knife-fingered nonce.

After all, that’s just a future psychiatric appointment waiting to happen.

“Can’t I just come as a psychopath?” I begged the Head of Secondary. But psychos just look normal, he argued.

“Exactly,” I barked back, “and that’s what makes them so scary.”

But I was wasting my breath, and he told me to get down the ‘Chino’ shop like everyone else.

Sulkily, I trudged my way towards my nearest bazaar, with Tubular Bells playing on my iPod.

Within seconds of arriving I was wishing I’d simply cheese-grated my own face.

Last year, a British tourist was brutally beheaded in one of these crap palaces, and this played on my mind as I shimmied past Barbie toilet brushes, which struck me as odd, as I know for a fact that Ken doesn’t even have an anus.

While pondering this enigma, I didn’t notice a group of masked teens creeping up behind me.

Spinning around, I jumped so high I sent a pyramid of rape alarms flying.

Anyway, as I made my way home, with three cracked sirens and one broken bog brush, I inspected my new Halloween costume; a pair of plastic vampire teeth.

OK, I’ll wear the stupid fangs to read out my learning outcomes – and maybe pop some skeletons on my PowerPoints – but after that, it’s business as usual.

At the end of the day, I know contracts in Spain aren’t exactly watertight but surely they can’t sack a teacher for not dressing up like a horror film freak?

I guess we’ll soon find out.

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