I do enjoy the Halloween season just because it brings out the macabre and darkness that lingers in our hearts the rest of the year. Halloween seems to give us the opportunity to rejoice in the dark and the playground of disturbed imagery.
For instance, if I wanted to write about the rotting corpse of some restless hobo now raised from the dead to munch on railroad rats and the hands of children in the middle of summer I'm sure I'd get a lot of strange looks. But in the Halloween season I'm free to describe the filth dripping, mucus smearing, snot sucking, zombie hobo with zero thought of retribution or condescension. I think Halloween gives us licence to entertain our inner psycho. It gives us the opportunity to be a little more crazy. No wonder they have elections around this time of year.
One of my personal favorite Halloween stories involves a young boy out trick or treating with his mother. They had gone from house to house picking up bunches of delicious sugary snacks. The night is winding down and the only house left is the big scary one at the end of the block. Most of the other children ignore it and the parents think a crazy cat woman lives there so they completely avoid it. The rest of the neighborhood provides enough candy to make up for the evil house on the corner.
This young mother however is having too much fun watching her little boy experience the joys of free candy and doesn't stop him when he goes running up the walkway of the giant, somehow perpetually dark house. The mother waits at the end of the walkway as her little man, her only boy and light of her life, rings the doorbell.
A ragged old woman opens the door and the young boy shouts, as he has all night to the delight of the other neighbors, "Trick or Treat". The old woman considers the boy for a moment and responds, "Trick", and pulls the young boy into the house by the front of his Superman costume and the front door slams behind them. The mother screams and runs to the door and starts pounding and pleading for her boy back.
The house responds by growling and lifting the porch up under the mother's feet and heaving her to the sidewalk. The door opens and the child gets spit back out covered with bloody goo and without any of his hard earned candy. The young mother scoops up the stunned boy and runs off screaming into the night and the safety of their own house.
I do like that story and this is the only time of the year it seems I get to tell it. (In the original version I wrote, the child doesn't come back. I must be slipping).