I love Halloween. Trick-or-Treat is my favorite time of the year.
I have gone all out: decorations, tons of candy, fun costumes – I love it. I started early in October, decorating and setting everything up, and by the time Halloween is here, the inside of my house is the Martha Stewart of spook.
Treats are the best part of Halloween. Candy, candy, candy, and only the good stuff. That is the main reason I love Halloween is for the candy.
This afternoon, on the cusp of Trick-or-Treat, I fill a huge drum full of chocolate bars, peanut butter kisses, mints, bubble gum, caramels, and much, much more. It is beautiful. The shiny wrappers and the sugary smell send me into a candy high.
Five o’clock and only an hour to go until the official start of the candy mongering. I make sure all of my fun Halloween is in order.
Six o’clock. It’s still light outside when the first trick-or-treater rings the doorbell. Ring, ring, ring. Six-o-two, and the kid gets the message and goes away . . . empty-handed.
As the sun sets around six thirty, my porch light stays off. You would think the neighborhood would get it, especially when I don’t open my door – I’m not doing trick-or-treaters this year. At least, I’m not giving them candy.
But, no – they keep coming. They don’t get the hint. Greedy slackers.
Year after year, I am inundated with children, teenagers, and, sometimes, adults looking for a free handout of sugary heaven. Year after year, I have given away too much candy.
Moochers, all of them. What was I thinking, handing out all that candy for all those years? After all, I spend my money to buy it. It burns me that these Halloween beggars think all they have to do is knock on my door to get a handful of candy. For free.
This year I’m handing out a Trick instead of a Treat. I have something special planned later for the Halloween thugs who come to my door. You know the ones: those teenagers and young adults who are much too old to be out begging for candy.
They usually surface after seven o’clock. Over the last few years, they have become more aggressive in their search and destroy mission for Halloween candy. Just last year, I had to replace an uprooted shrub and a broken window after I told a teenage punk and his punk friends I would not give them candy.
The doorbell rings again. It has rung forty-two times in the past thirty minutes and forty-two times they have gone away disappointed. Aww. Too bad. I’m crying on the inside as I eat a chocolate-covered caramel.
A quarter until seven and it is almost time. The crowds have petered off as parents take their young children home to see what Halloween booty they have scored this year.
I look in the mirror. I am wearing all black from my shoes to the ski mask on my head. I blend perfectly with the night as I slip outside.
I hear them before I see them. They are laughing as they talk about the weeping child they had just stolen candy from. I’m glad they’re coming to my house.
As they approach the front yard, I wait until they are in position. Almost. Almost.
There. They are standing in the middle of my yard, trying to decide if someone is home as I turn on the sprinkler system. Some start to curse and other laugh, but the permanent industrial dye I’ve put in the water will make them think twice about coming to my house next year. I silently laugh as I imagine how the thugs will try to explain later why they are forest green from head to toe.
I have enough water and dye to last all night. After the first group of thugs, a second and third come by and I give them the same Trick. None come after the last group, so word must have gotten around. I wait twenty more minutes just to be sure.
Oh, well, my bag of Tricks is short this night. I walk back into the house and settle down for a quiet evening of candy gluttony.
Munching on my stash, at first I mistake the sound for a tree branch scraping the side of my house. As the sound gets louder and starts coming from all directions, I realize it’s not a tree.
I am rooted to my chair. Just as fast as the blood drains to my feet, it rises up again to the top of my head. My anger is rising, too.
Thugs. Horrible thugs. Whatever they’re dragging around the side of my house is going to scrap all the paint off the siding. I grab one of my registered guns (just to scare them, of course) and run out the front door.
A strong hand grabs me by the throat the instant I am outside and lifts me off the ground. I can’t see who has me and my brain struggles for oxygen. The grip loosens slightly and the blood rushing to my head clarifies my vision. The gun in my nerveless hand drops to the ground.
Still nothing. I cannot see the grasping hand, but it is there, all the same. As my feet touch the ground, a gravelly voice whispers in my ear.
“One night a year, my son can mingle with humans. One night a year, he doesn’t stand out,” it says as it turns me to face a miniature horror in forest green.
The little freak would stand out at any other time, even without the forest green hue on its skin. Its face is a mash of gruesome sinews, twisted in spirals like licorice. The thing’s arms hang down to its ankles and something protrudes from its belly like a misshapen parasitic twin.
Its one eye looks at me from under a hooded forest green lid. The pig-like snout is quivering as it spews forest green snot. Little gravelly whimpers come from a mouth hidden beneath flaps of dangling forest green skin.
“I would kill you and eat your heart, but that would be too easy,” the monster’s father says. “You owe my boy Trick-or-Treat,” he tells me as he motions his progeny inside my house.
A minute later, the little freak emerges with my barrel of candy slung on its back. The little monter’s father tightens his grip around my throat as he propels me forward.
I’m slammed into a large puddle of forest green water. An appendage, I can’t tell if it’s arm, leg, or something else, rolls me like a baker rolling dough. The little freak giggles as his father covers me from head to toe in dye. I can’t hold my terrified sobs back any longer.
“This is nothing, human,” monster-daddy says. “Do you have any idea what his mother is going to do to me?”
J J Dare is the author of “False Positive,” the first novel in the Joe Daniels’ trilogy.
Have a Scary Halloween!