I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina and October was what it should be. A slight chill in the air, leaves rustling on the ground and dark early…like by five-thirty. None of this waiting around until six or six-thirty to see dusk. By five-thirty darkness had fallen and Maple Street (because that’s where everybody went to trick-or-treat) was full of kids.
The candy was great, but what I really remember was the sense of adventure from behind that cheap plastic mask held to my head by a slim piece of elastic. I remember my breath fogging up the inside of the nostrils and struggling to see through the eyeholes that didn’t quite match up to my eyes. I always felt that the real ghosts and goblins hovered somewhere just out of sight. My hand clinging to my father’s on one side and my little brother’s on the other side, I’d listen for them, but all I heard was the cheap satiny material of my long princess “gown” brushing against my blue-jeaned legs.
If I could turn my head fast enough, though, would I see the headless horseman ready to toss his grinning pumpkin head at me? Or a witch with a green face and a wart on her nose cackling from behind a tree? Or just a wispy white ghost … surely that.
I try to remember these things now. Trick or treating is much different. I’m on the other end of the state and quite often All Hallow’s Eve is muggy and warm. We usually spend our evening in the parking lot of the local church instead of going from house to house and my kids’ costumes are much better than my dime store princess costumes. But I know they feel that same thrill of being outside in the dark, that anticipation and feeling that just around the corner adventure might wait…
On a different note, my friend Ellen Meister’s new and highly anticipated novel THE OTHER LIFE is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Here’s a link, if you want to take advantage: THE OTHER LIFE. I have read both of Ellen’s other novels with a great deal of enjoyment, and I can’t wait for January 20, 2011!