Part 1 of an 8 part series

by Philip Wallace

We’re gearing up at for our favorite time of year and along with reviews and links of current haunted house attractions, I thought it would be nice to post some stories about haunted houses from my past and Halloween in general. Though this is the first in an 8 part series, don’t fret about continuity. If you miss one it won’t matter as each article will cover different time frames. This first one goes way back to my youth.

. Halloween Moonlight .

I went trick or treating only twice in my life. Maybe that’s why I get so hyped for Halloween as an adult. The first time I went I was 6 years old and my mother got me a clown suit. I was disappointed since I didn’t think I was very scary. My cousin Freddy got to be a skeleton so he was much spookier. I was to go to his house last.

One reason why I didn’t trick or treat was that we usually lived in the country. My parents didn’t want to have to haul me all over creation just for some candy they could just as easily buy at the store for me. They were also morbidly afraid of somebody slipping me an apple with a razor blade in it. I thought that was goofy since I wouldn’t eat a candy apple anyways. Every Halloween I would hear them recite the litany of urban legends about poisoned candy as a reason for me to stay home. I must have really nagged my mother when I was 6 to get her to take me trick of treating.

We drove all over the dark countryside stopping at a very few houses of people my mother knew. I had wanted to be Dracula so I could frighten folks silly, but instead I was greeted with cries of how cute or adorable I was at every door. I wouldn’t need the makeup on my face if ladies didn’t quit pinching my cheeks. The women my mother knew were cheap too, since my bag barely had enough candy to last me an hour when we were finished knocking on doors.

Finally we got to Freddy’s place. He had racked up on candy in one of the new subdivisions that were springing up near his home. I figured he did better because he was a skeleton and not because he had went to more houses. The October weather was windy but warm, so while the adults stayed inside and talked, we played on the front patio. The clouds were racing across the sky and the moon shined like a light house in the night. We used to play on this patio on similar evenings and these times run together through my memory in a film strip symphony moon clouds, Hot Wheels, and the dirt roads we made beside the patio.

The patio was well lit, but as you ventured into the dirt the shadows began. The farther one got from the front door the darker it got until finally one was left with the night, that even with the moonlight was still a very dim place to be. It was into these shadows that we explored to show who was the bravest. Halloween only escalated our contest. We were convinced that monsters lurked where the light didn’t reach and we would work ourselves into a frenzy of imaginary scenarios. We just knew that one of us was going to wander too far into the unknown where we would meet our end.

One of us would go and come screaming back. This repeated itself for what seemed like hours, but was likely only minutes. Then we would concede that neither of us was all that brave since it was Halloween and all the ghosts and goblins were out. We combined forces and timidly walked together to the edge of darkness, took steps into the night deeper then we had ever gone alone and then both ran screaming for the front door where my mother was ready to take me home .

Though I was only a clown and I don’t recall the trick or treating being as grand as I had been led to believe it would be that Halloween was still a magical night. No pictures of me in the clown suit exist, but I can still see its polka dotted patterns. The monsters that crowd the gloomy corners are still waiting to drain the blood out of Freddy and me. Grey clouds still glide by a moon grown fat from the fear and awe of children. This Halloween memory is like a long lasting hard candy that never grows stale, but only tastes richer and more mysterious over time. I still wish I could have been the skeleton.

Read Part 2: Manson Pike Astral Fright

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