It was October 31, Halloween night. Mom had asked if it would be terribly inconvenient to take my kid brother and sister trick or treating, because she had to work late, as usual.
I was reluctant to agree, but after she bribed me with twenty dollars, and said “Kelly, there is more where that came from,” well… it made the decision a little less painless.
I was seventeen, but Halloween, was still, by far, my favorite day of the year.
Unfortunately, this would be the last year I would be able to take my brother and sister trick or treating, because next year -- I was headed to college.
That is why I wanted this night to be special, not only for them, but for me as well.
The night had a nipping chill to it, as we made our way from house to house, collecting our treats, and saying hello to neighbors and friends along the way.
My 5-year-old sister, Maria, was dressed as a witch, and my 4-year-old brother, Nate, was disguised as a ghost. I walked between them in my cute and sexy devil costume.
It was getting late, and we decided to stop at one final house at the end of Cemetery Drive, before making the mile walk back home on the other side of town.
“One more house,” I said, “then we need to go home.”
The house was dilapidated, and I couldn’t decide if it was purposely set up that way for Halloween, or if this is what it looked like year-round.
“I don’t want to go to this house,” Maria whined, “it’s scary.”
“It’s Halloween,” I said, “It’s supposed to be scary.” I knelt down and looked Maria in the eyes. “This is going to be the last year I get to spend this special holiday with you and Nate, so I want to make it last as long as possible. How bout we just make the best of this night?”
“Okay,” Maria said, as her pout turned to a smile. I grabbed Maria and Nate by the hand, and we proceeded to walk down the path to the front door.
A peculiar black cat seemed to watch us curiously as the sound of dead leaves crunched beneath our feet.
Nate pushed ahead of me and banged erratically on the door. “Don’t do that, Nate,” I huffed. “You’re supposed to wait for me and stay by my side. Don’t run off again or I’ll tell Mom and Dad,” I said, as I yanked him by the hand.
“I’m sorry,” Nate said, as he hung his head sheepishly low. “It’s okay,” I said, “but don’t scare me like that again.” “You’re not going to tell Mom, are you?” Nate asked.
Even as a ghost, I couldn’t stay mad at Nate. Overall, He was a pretty good brother. “No, I’m not going to tell Mom,” I said, as I patted his head.
“It doesn’t look like anybody is home,” Maria said. Before I could answer her, the door creaked and slowly opened. We stood frozen in fear, anxiously waiting for what awaited us from within.
“Go inside,” Maria said to Nate, as she gave him a slight push. “No,” Nate said, “I don’t want to.” I scoffed, “Will you two scaredy-cats knock it off. We will all go in together."
The inside of the house was boarded up and falling apart. I wondered if it had been condemned, and if not, then it definitely should’ve been. A raspy woman’s voice called out.
“Are you going to stand there in my doorway, letting all the hot air out of my home, or are you going to come in?” a woman's voice spoke.
“I’m scared,” Nate said, cowering behind me.
“It’s okay,” I said, as I stepped through the front door with Maria and Nate following close to my side.
“The house is just old,” I said, “so let’s just get in and get out as quickly as possible. Ma’am?” I said, “Where are you?”
“I’m upstairs, dear,” the woman said. “Bring those little sweeties up here so I may take a look at them in their costumes.”
As we walked back towards the exit, a black cat jumped in front of the door and clawed it shut. I jumped back, startled by the creature that seemed to be looking through me.
“Don’t worry about Midnight,” the woman said. “He doesn’t like people.” The cat started to hiss and growl as we slowly backed away from it. “I don’t like that cat,” Nate said.
“Neither do I,” Maria pouted.
The cat leapt from the floor and swatted its paws against my brother. I grabbed a broom lying next to the mantle and swung it at the cat. The feline hissed at me and quickly hid behind a table.
“Don’t come into my home and disrespect my pet,” the woman scowled from above.
“That beast attacked my brother” I said, “but don’t worry, because we were just leaving. Come on Nate and Maria; we are out of here.”
We walked towards the door, and I pulled the handle, but it wouldn’t open. “Very funny,” I said sarcastically. “Open up this door, before I kick it in."
“People know that we are here,” I said, “and they will come looking for us; so, you better open this darn door.”
“Come upstairs and let me take a look at you kids in your costumes,” the woman said, “and then I’ll let you leave.”
“Why don’t you come down here if you want to see our costumes,” I said, “besides, the steps are too dangerous for my brother and sister.”
“Please,” the woman pleaded, “I am bed-ridden, and it would mean so much to me to see a smile on a child’s face for Halloween night. It’s sad to say, but this might be my last Halloween in this old house. Please hurry- -it will be midnight soon, and Halloween will be over.”
“Okay,” I said, “I’ll come up, and then we have to go.”
“And what about the little lovelies?” the woman asked.
I looked down at my sister and brother, and they just shook their heads. “Come on,” I said, “let’s just go up there, sing a song or two, and then we can go home. Please, I said, “do it for me."
“Fine,” Maria moaned, “but Mom's going to hear about this.”
“It’s only a little further down that hall,” I insisted. “Let’s go see the woman, and then we can go home and sort out our candy.”
I took one look down the hall, and almost turned back around, but the woman’s voice called out again. “Please… you children have come so far, don’t leave without saying trick or treat."
Nate looked up at me, and Maria looked at Nate, and I just stared blankly down the hall that looked like it was about to collapse beneath our feet. I sighed, “let’s get this over with”
“I don’t think I want candy that bad,” Maria said.
“We came this far,” I said, “so we finish this now.”
The floor boards creaked with each step, as we moved closer and closer to the door at the end of the hallway.
“Listen,” I said, “I don’t know what kind of condition this woman is in that has caused her to let this house fall apart, but try not to stare, and be on your best behavior, do you understand me?" “Yes,” Nate and Maria said, simultaneously.
“Okay,” I said, “besides, maybe the woman will give you two a really special treat for going out of your way like this.”
“She better not give me any more apples or oranges, Maria said. "I already have enough to fill a basket.”
We arrived at the end of the hall, where an old wooden door stood before us. “We are here,” I said.
“Oh, thank you,” the woman said from behind the door. “Would the children mind doing an old woman a favor and singing a song?”
I looked down at Nate and Maria, and shrugged my shoulders. “Do we have to?” Maria said.
“Yeah,” I said, “just do it so we can get out of here.”
“Okay,” Maria said, as she started off the song, with Nate quickly joining in. '“Trick or treat? Trick or treat? Give me something good to eat. Apples, peaches, tangerines. Happy, Happy, Halloween."'
Nate and Maria finished, and the hallway got eerily quiet. “Is she still there?” Maria whispered.
“I think so,” I said. “Ma’am, are you alright?” There was no reply.
“Can we go now?” Nate said.
“No,” I said. “Ma’am, Do you need some help?”
The door opened and a weathered hand motioned for us to come inside. “That was lovely,” the woman said. “Come inside, and collect your treats.”
“It looks awfully dark in there,” I said.” “Why don’t you come out here? We can just take our candy, and leave you be for the rest of the night.”
“But I haven’t gotten any make-up on,” the woman said.
“You know what,” I said, “It’s okay. We don’t need any candy. Look,” I said, as I held up Nate’s bag of treats, “we have plenty enough candy to rot our teeth well into December.”
“Okay… I’ll come out,” the woman said. “I just hope I don’t frighten the children without my makeup on.”
“I’m sure you look fine, ma’am,” I said as I rolled my eyes, “and besides; it’s Halloween.”
“Are you sure the children will be okay?” the woman said.
“Yeah,” I said, “the only thing that scares these kids are vegetables.”
“Okay,” the woman said, “here I come. “Trick or Trick,” the woman said, as she opened the door, revealing the most hideous, and grotesque face that I ever laid eyes on.
“Run,” I shouted, as I grabbed Maria and Nate by the hand, dragging them down the hallway, and down the rickety stairs.
We didn’t look back to see if anything was following us, and in all truth; I didn’t want to know. The front door to the outside flung open, and we screamed like school children all the way home.
By the time we arrived home, it was way past midnight, and Mom was quite upset, waiting on the front porch of our house with the local police.
“Where were you guys?” Mom said. “I was worried sick, and I had to call the cops.”
“It’s a long story,” I said, “but if you must know. We stopped at one final house on cemetery drive, and the lady wouldn’t let us leave.”
“What are you talking about?” The cop said.
“We were trapped inside the house,” I said, “and the lady was wearing some sort of makeup or mask to frighten us.”
“Where was this house?” The cop inquired.
“325 Cemetery Drive,” I said.
“That’s impossible,” the cop said. “That house hasn’t been lived in since 1972, when a mother and child were burned alive inside, by the husband who escaped from an asylum on Halloween night. You must have been mistaken.”
“Yeah,” I said, as the color drained from my face. “Anyway,” the cop said, “you folks have a Happy Halloween.”