After reading a nostalgic column of Halloweens’ past, reminiscent of dropping your loot at home and hitting the streets for round two, I had a giddy desire to go out trick-or-treating.
But wait, I remember a round two Halloween assault, battery and larceny. On me. From behind. And it weren’t no ghosts. It was un-costumed teenage criminals. Taking full advantage of the night’s expectations, my small-statured vulnerability and the fact I was tiredly meandering in the shadows of my two other siblings. Pushed. Knocked to the ground. Pillow case snatched. I screamed and cried real sounds, not Halloween-induced effects. My siblings backtracked at my piercing sound of reality, brought me and my spirits to our feet and softly scolded me for lally-gagging. It was the city. On Halloween. There was no pussy-fottin’ around. You learned how to navigate and survive – or stay home.
I brushed off my emotional bruises and my costume and forged ahead. Bagless. ‘No one’s going to treat a kid without a bag for the loot’, I self-chastised. ‘Now what?’
There was only one thing left to this night. And the spirits of lure were enlightening me that I was entering the dimension of trickery. That thought whispered to me from within and I was becoming honestly frightened. “Trick-or treat” might be seasonal child’s play. And I might have been one of the younger youth’s braving the night. But my wise old soul was well aware that “Hallows Eve” was anything but child’s play. There was a part of me, deep in my four-foot stature, that relished in the realization that Hallows Eve was spirits’ night out to frolic in frightening fun from a spooking dimension. They also knew I was a player in the game of ghosts and ghouls. So play they did.
We approached the next house with weary anticipation. My position was moved up to lead trick-or-treater to avoid any further criminal altercations. The door crept open and exposed two witches, so real looking I thought for sure I’d entered a sci-fi novel. Between the two stood a life-sized smoking cauldron that I thought only surfaced in cartoons. Witchy giggles echoed as their stick stirred whatever lurked beneath the rising smoke.
“Have some”, they eerily insisted from the paralyzing silence of the entryway. I was afraid to move, afraid to look behind me to see if my siblings were still there, and afraid to . . .
“Have some” they irritatedly interrupted, holding a smoking ladle to my lips.
I couldn’t help but worry what would happen to me if I sipped from the ladle. And worried worse what would happen if I didn’t.
I remember bringing the ladle to my lips and slowly sipping amidst the ghastly giggles of what I was convinced were real witches. My hands were shaking, my knees knocking, my baby teeth chattering and I could feel a cry creeping its way to my mouth. I gulped the witches brew to silence it, fearing what might happen to me if I cried. ‘Where are my siblings?’ I remember wondering from behind the mist in my eyes.
And that was the last thing I remember.
To this day.
Was I held hostage in the dungeons of my own delusions or did those witches drug and drag me into other dimensions?
I cannot answer that question.
City streets were often filled with frightening acts of frivolity. And Halloween was a coming out party of impurities.
Stay safe. Have fun. And remember, there really are ghosts and spirits.