Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Halloween Memories

I think the years of trick-or-treating are formative years. At least for me they were. It seemed my closest friends back then were the ones that savored Halloween as much as I did. There was one friend in particular that was way ahead of the curve - Stephen. He was a pretty neat guy. He had books on the paranormal, loved horror movies and Creature Double Feature, and worshipped Halloween (and managed to hide it all behind a quiet conservative persona).

His family had a cable tv and a VCR long before anyone else did. The VCR was HUGE and had giant silver buttons and faux wood panels. My family never watched horror movies or even seemed to understand them, so it was a pretty big deal to watch them whenever we wanted. In fact, he introduced me to Freddy Krueger, and my all-time favorite villain - Conal Cochran of HALLOWEEN III. He also loved the classic cartoons and the Halloween season was spent waiting for the holiday editions of CHARLIE BROWN and FAT ALBERT, which were always shown on Halloween night. We'd plan to watch them after a night of trick-or-treating, along with any other horror movies that were guaranteed to run that night.

One year is clearest in my mind and I'm thinking it was the last year I went trick-or-treating. Only three of us that year - me, my brother, and Stephen. We ventured further than other years to collect candy. And later in the night than other years. Most porches were dark. Most of the streets were empty. We decided to hit up a duplex apartment which meant we had to enter an enclosed stairwell. We crept up the steps in the dark to a door. The blue light of a television was shining under the door and onto the top step. I don't remember who knocked, but one of us did. I remember being scared and I can remember whispering. Because of the way the steps led right up to the door, it was very easy to look under the door into the apartment. We couldn't see much, but I remember we suddenly heard someone move around in there. Maybe they were taking a nap on the couch and the knock woke them. Or maybe they were just getting up to get something to drink. I do know that it was mysterious, and exciting, and scary. Completely innocuous event, but Halloween made it thrilling. That person in there might as well have been sitting on a stack of dead kids still in their costumes. I don't remember at what point we gave up and left, but I do remember not wanting that feeling to end.

We went back to Stephen's house and watched IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN and FAT ALBERT'S HALLOWEEN SPECIAL as we dug through our candy. Later we watched the film THE HINDENBURG of all things. I remember being tempted by a lit jack o'lantern that was in his dining room. We started to drop little pieces of paper onto the flame to watch them burn and turn into ash. The pieces got bigger and at one point a flaming piece of paper was in my brother's hand and we were all screaming. He ran for the sink and Stephen thought he was going for the trash can, and shrieked. He later confessed that he imagined the trash can going up like the Hindenburg. I remember laughing the entire night.

We were supposed to sleep over and hang out the next day, but I remember waking up and missing my bed. So my brother and I walked home in the cold first hours of November.

A pretty neat Halloween memory. I have no idea whatever came of Stephen. I remember many years ago hearing from his mother through my mother that he was successful and happy. For all I know, he has an amazing yard haunt every year and is known in his neighborhood as The Halloween Man.

I certainly hope so.

Image source.


JHMDF said...

Cool story. My "Halloween friend" was Alan. We had plans to play tricks on my horrible next door neighbor every year, but chickend out each time. We actually took my wifes little brother and some of his friends trick or treating 2 years ago and being about 10-15 years older than everyone else out in a costume that night was great, we had a lot of fun!


Grim said...

Great story, brings back a lot of memories from similar experiences.

Jon Glassett said...

That's a great piece, man. Clearly we can add writing to your many talents.

Anonymous said...

nice story. i agree, that story was putting alot of visions in my head of my early trick or treating

The Captain said...

I wish I could go back! I had a whole neighbor family that are in almost all of my Halloween memories, The Kutchs. Great story man.

Rot said...

Thanks, guys.
My brother was on my case to write about our childhood buddy. Glad I did. : )