Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Halloween Memory

            (artwork by Helen Jacobs 1888-1970) 

I was fourteen years old, too old to go trick or treating, too young (according to my strict mother) to go to Halloween parties. But I wasn't too old to miss going trick or treating.  When my eldest sister asked me if I wanted to take two of my little nieces, aged four and five, trick or treating I jumped at the chance. 

Oooh, it was a perfect night for Halloween! The full moon's light was darkened at times by torn rags of clouds flying across her face. A chill little breeze sent eerie whispers through the few dead leaves still clinging to the branches and rattled through the drifts of leaves on the ground with a sound like old, unquiet bones clicking, rattling, shifting. 

...Maybe it wasn't the leaves making those noises.  Maybe the noise really was coming from the bones of skeletons clawing their way up from their unmarked graves because they were getting ready to come after us

That's the story I was telling my little nieces as we walked up a very long walkway to get to the porch of an unfamiliar house where the only decoration was a scarecrow sitting on a barrel under a dim porch light.  It had a pretty gruesome face but I, in my best fourteen-year-old-impersonating-a-grown-up manner, assured my apprehensive little nieces that there was nothing to be afraid of, it was just a shirt and pants stuffed with hay that someone had placed a phony head on, nothing to be afraid of at all. 

But then the thing stood up!  Stood up, and screamed the most blood curdling, freeze-your-bones banshee cry I had ever heard!  And then it laughed, crazed-serial-killer-possessed-by-a-demon booms of laughter...while it was walking down the steps toward us!

Did I hesitate?  No sir, no ma'am, I turned on my heel and ran faster than a college quarterback who knows he's going to get a multi-million dollar deal from the NFL if he makes the touchdown.  But only for about four steps.  Then I remembered.  My sweet, defenseless little nieces!  I turned, in a blind panic, and ran back.  Scooping up one under each arm, tucking them in like a football, I was just a few steps in front of the monster as I turned again and ran faster than I ever had before, faster than any quarterback, faster than the wind could fly.

But still, that laughter followed and I knew that monstrous, child devouring thing was close because that high pitched giggling ... giggles?   High pitched giggles?  Little girl giggles.


But, yes.  I set the giggling little monsters down and turned to see my sister, laughing so hard she could barely stand up, holding the scarecrow's head in her hand, but still wearing the scarecrow costume. 

It was The Great Halloween Set Up.  And I fell for it, hook, line and adorable little nieces. 

It's a good Halloween memory, though, and we all still laugh about it.  We laugh, too, about how I eventually got them in my own Great Halloween Set Up.  But that's a story for another evening.


  1. Loved this! What excellent story telling! One of my favorite Halloweens goes along those same lines... Only i was a grown up taking my daughter trick or treating....A long walkway up to the porch and a scarecrow sitting in a chair. He HAD to very close to him to slide past him to get to the front door. And when the scarecrow moved OH MY! I could have stood there for quite a while watching him scare all the kiddies. What fun! Hugs! deb

  2. You're so good at telling stories and this was a great one. Samhain Blessings to you.

  3. Oh Victoria - what a scary tale with a great ending...well not quite the ending because I hope you share how you got them back! Hugs! P.S. love that painting...have never seen this artist's work is wonderful.

  4. Deb, I'm glad you liked it, thank you!

    OC, thank you for your kind words about my story, I'm happy you liked it! Samhain Blessings to you, too.

    Debbie, I will share the story of how I got even sometime during next October. I'm glad you liked the story, thanks!

  5. What a great story! I'll look forward to hearing about your revenge next year. Happy Halloween!

  6. Did your nieces organise the scare! wicked little things! That must have been scary!

  7. Miss Vicki, thank you!

    Laura, my nieces were too was my sister, their mom, who organised it. But you're right, they were wicked little things because they knew about it and didn't tell their 'beloved' Aunty V!


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