'I'm going as a zombie this year': Veteran trick or treaters happy to be back on Halloween trail

'I'm going as a zombie this year': Veteran trick or treaters happy to be back on Halloween trail

Cork's oldest trick-or-treaters John A. Murphy, Martin Murphy and Con Prout who have been trick-or-treating together for decades in Crossbarry, Co Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

A GROUP of Cork pals, who are believed to be the world’s oldest trick or treaters, are back with a vengeance with a promise to visit as many homes as possible this Halloween.

This follows a government announcement that children can now go trick-or-treating again. However, it’s unclear if this applies to bigger children too — namely John A McCarthy (Waterfall) Con Prout (Crossbarry), and Martin Murphy (Ballincollig). Regardless, this won’t stop them celebrating, following a difficult year that saw them miss their first Halloween in four decades.

Former school friends John A and Con didn’t begin trick-or-treating until they were 20-years-old. In later years they were joined by Martin who they met in a pub.

Unfortunately, the fourth member of the gang — CUH nurse Katie Duggan — is unable to participate in this year’s antics. However, the trio, who are all in their sixties, have pledged to collect as many treats as they can in her honour.

 Cork's oldest trick-or-treaters Martin Murphy, Con Prout and John A. Murphy who have been trick-or-treating together for decades calling to Joan Cronin in Crossbarry, Co Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
Cork's oldest trick-or-treaters Martin Murphy, Con Prout and John A. Murphy who have been trick-or-treating together for decades calling to Joan Cronin in Crossbarry, Co Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

The three amigos will be keeping with tradition this year, opting for homemade costumes.

“With the homemade stuff, it’s very easy,” John A said. “All you have to do is take a shirt and throw some blood over it. There’s not really any competition between us. We try to help each other out with the costumes as much as we can. I’m going as a zombie this year, but Con has lost his clown costume so we may have to come up with a replacement for him.”

 Ava and Ellie Sweeney running for their lives from Cork's oldest trick-or-treaters John A. Murphy, Martin Murphy and Con Prout who have been trick-or-treating together for decades in Crossbarry, Co Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
Ava and Ellie Sweeney running for their lives from Cork's oldest trick-or-treaters John A. Murphy, Martin Murphy and Con Prout who have been trick-or-treating together for decades in Crossbarry, Co Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

John A said they are planning their route carefully to make the most of the night. He admits that while others have requested to join the group, not everyone can keep up.

“We had one friend come with us who didn’t seem to want to enjoy himself.

“He came without a costume and ended up getting left behind because he wasn’t able to keep up with us.”

He described how it all began.

“We had the idea of going trick-or-treating so began calling around to people we knew. After a while, we decided that this wasn’t enough of a challenge so we started calling to the people we didn’t know also.”

Since starting their Halloween housecalls, the gang has come up against everything from threats to call the police to egg pelting. Luckily, the majority of reactions have been positive.

“One woman started reciting Hail Marys at the door to get rid of us,” he said.

 Cork's oldest trick-or-treaters John A. Murphy, Martin Murphy and Con Prout who have been trick-or-treating together for decades in Crossbarry, Co Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
Cork's oldest trick-or-treaters John A. Murphy, Martin Murphy and Con Prout who have been trick-or-treating together for decades in Crossbarry, Co Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

“None of this ever phases us because we like to come home with as many stories as possible. Anything that makes for a story is always good!”

The friends enjoy pulling pranks on their friends.

“Sometimes we’ll call to the people we know, but we’ll be on our knees so that they think we’re kids. We’ll come back later and complain that we didn’t get enough sweets. They’ll start to get angry before we jump up and reveal who we actually are.”

The friends enjoy visiting old and new friends alike on their Halloween route.

“When we couldn’t celebrate Halloween last year it was like our lives had been taken away from us,” he joked.

“We love Halloween. We make lots of friends during the year so we have people to call to when Halloween finally comes around.”

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