Halloween is my most favorite day of the year and I really enjoy greeting the tiny trick-or-treaters who come to our door on Halloween night. I love looking at the costumes and the scary stuff people put out in their yards, porches and windows. It never ceases to amaze me that some people come up with incredible ideas and/or do all sorts of nefarious things to scare the daylights out of the trick-or-treaters. Two Halloweens stand in my memory when some pretty scary things happened. You read the story and decide which one is scarier.
Some ten years or so ago, on a Halloween night, I was taking both my kids trick-or-treating on our street. It seemed like the most innocuous Halloween with people benevolently dispensing candy and other treats and admiring my two little horrors. Then, suddenly we came to a very strange house. It was not lit and had no obvious signs inviting kids to come to the door for candy. No Jack-o-lantern, no porch light, and no signs of people. However, there was a white casket on the lawn, the house was dimly lit and, as we approached, we heard Halloween tapes being played. There were ghastly noises and blood-curdling screams emanating from the tape. The kids stopped dead in their tracks and didn't want to go any further.
Being curious and enthusiastic, I egged them on, but, to no avail. So, I started going towards the house alone and....... just as I approached the lawn, the casket opened with a 'WHUP' sound. From the casket a skeleton sprang forth and sat straight up while the tape played the screams louder and louder. I was really impressed by the show and the clever contraption, but the kids were scared ----less and were standing as far away as possible. I decided to go onto the porch and look into the house. My kids screamed "Mama, don't go!", but my curiosity got the better of me. As I climbed the steps onto the porch, a head poked out from behind the door which was ajar. I could not distinguish facial features on the head, but it had two red glowing lights for eyes and it said "hi" in the most horrible way imaginable. The kids continued calling out as I greeted the strangely disembodied head. Obviously, there was no candy to be had and I just hung on around the porch and the lawn to take in the design of this eerie setup.
I remember that my kids didn't really appreciate my curiosity or my subsequent gushing of the nifty design of the coffin, the skeleton, the sound effects, the mechanics of pulling some sort of a dark string to open the casket and prop the skeleton up. I thought that the young men living in the house did a marvelous job rigging up something so clever.
Years passed, every Halloween brought umpteen little ghosts, goblins, fairies, screams, hunchbacks, bees, dragons, vampires, bats, clowns, owls, and so on to our door and I watched, admired, and enjoyed every Halloween to the fullest. It wasn't until two years ago that another scary thing happened.
Two Halloweens past, my kids, then 14 and 12, and a few of their buddies went trick-or-treating on their own, and quite unwisely, decided to wander out of our usual well-known range for trick-or-treating. They were going on a bridge over the Allen Expressway, an artery that feeds into highway 401. There are stretches in this area with no houses and a hiking trail that used to be an old railroad. It was in this semi-abandoned area that a gang of older kids pounced on my kids and their friends and stole their candy. Someone in the gang said he had a knife. So, my kids and their friends ran for their lives after relinquishing their candy to the thugs.
Now, you decide which of these stories is scarier. A Canadian might say,"it's really a no brainer, eh?"
Have a safe and happy Halloween!
From Meher's journal, 26 October 2004