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An Occasional Post

Scary stories

I am not a big Halloween person, and I know this is a character flaw. Many of my friends love all the hoopla, but I’ve never been a fan of the scary, macabre, and haunting. I am still afraid of “The Monkey’s Paw.”

I do love the candy, because I am a sane person. Unfortunately, we have no trick-or-treaters any more (the children of nearby friends have grown up). I stock up on my favorite stuff anyway. Just in case. Then we get to eat it.

The last time I went trick-or-treating was sometime between 7th and 12th grade. I can only be vague about this, but I’m dating it by where we lived. My next-door-neighbor, who was the bane of my existence, was visiting as usual. (If you’re reading this, JG, you know I mean you, but I’ve forgiven you for everything.) Younger trick-or-treaters paraded to our suburban door. My father was one of the wonderful ones—the kind of father who always reacted in a satisfying way to the appearance of ghosts, witches, hoboes, Robin Hoods, etc. He never dressed up himself, but I bet he would have liked to. I just can’t imagine it.

Midway through this particular evening, JG and I were overwhelmed with sentiment for the lost years of our childhood, even though we were still in those particular childhoods at the time. So we put pillowcases over our heads and hit the highways and byways.

I was, and am, short, as was she. No problem passing for a younger kid. We filled our extra pillowcases and came home. I always felt that I had deprived younger children of what was truly theirs. (The guilt has accompanied me lo these many years, particularly as Halloween approaches. The curse of a political childhood.)

In Montpelier, where we spend Halloween, it seems to be commonplace for older teens to trick-or-treat. They arrive slightly later and they’re more likely to have fake (I hope) blood somewhere on their bodies. I wonder, now, if it’s always been so. Is there a connection between the huge popularity of the paranormal in literature for teens and the increased affection for Halloween? Just asking…
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