Moments. To me, that is all life is. Moments alone, moments you share, moments of joy, sorrow, fear. Never a dull moment, just a moment, ect…
Memories are just moments in the past that stand out enough to remember. With this in mind, I try to make each Halloween a moment. Not just for me but for all of the kids who trick or treat to my home. I love putting up the lights, making the sound effects, adding the tombstones and decorations in an effort to make my house something for them to remember. Often, I hear of people who work hard to scare the trick or treaters who visit them. When I look at the ages of the children who come and visit me each year, I see that most are very young. There are several haunted houses in our town where people can go to get a good scare, I don’t want fear to be the memory I give to the little haunters. My goal is to make my home almost a magical place. I work hard to provide an atmosphere of spookiness without having props or people that jump out and frighten children away.
A few years ago, I had my yard decorated and had life size paintings I had made of the Peanuts characters in all their Halloween glory. I placed flood lights in the yard and worked hard to provide a spooky, kid friendly yard haunt for the tikes. A co-worker from my wife’s office brought her older kids to visit our home. They were older children. While they seemed to like my work, they didn’t understand my motives. It was Halloween night, pretty late, and I stayed outside enjoying the last moments of the evening. My wife and her co-worker went inside to chat a moment and the kids wondered about to see my handiwork. A car pulled up and a couple got out of the car with a child just old enough to talk. My costume was that of a skeleton. “You won’t scare me will you mister skeleton?” No I said, this is a friendly place. I looked around and told the children looking about my yard to stay back and not frighten the kid. The parents smiled and talked the child into coming up for candy.
I am sure you can see where this is going. One of the brats didn’t listen. He heard me, he just didn’t care. He jumped out and yelled at the small child. Of course, the child cried and the parents gave me “the look”. It wasn’t my kid who did this but I still felt that they had trusted me and I felt I had let them down.
This was the last trick or treater I had that night. Months of work, painting, building, planning and it ended like that. I wanted to make that brat who didn’t listen to me a permanent resident to my graveyard. We had tons of kids who had a great moment at my haunt, yet my mind is filled with sorrow at the tears of that one child. It still makes me mad.
I still don’t get why people want to scare small children. I love working haunts and making fears for people who want them, but little kids? I just don’t get it. Trick or Treat for me is the heart of Halloween. I love the haunts and the ghost stories and the movies and everything else but those precious few hours of giving to those little ones all dressed up is, for me, the very reason for the season.


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