Halloween by Christine Hughes
I’ve never really liked Halloween. For me, it’s always been a holiday of secrets and masks. I don’t ever remember being too keen on asking complete strangers for bits of candy – most of which I never ate for fear of poison or some random crazy razorblade. I was fed stories of kidnapped children. Of old women pushing homemade chocolate covered mothballs. Of apples with hypodermic puncture marks. Of vans driven by clowns who preyed upon young girls in witch costumes.
I was quite impressionable and no matter how many times my parent tried to dispel the whispered warnings, my mind always spun toward the worst thoughts. Darkened streets, kids and grown-ups in masks. It always creeped me out.
And those kids who came from other neighborhoods to ours because we supposedly had the best candy – I never could figure out why anyone wanted to celebrate such a strange holiday. A day to celebrate murderers and prisoners by dressing as them. Celebrating witches who eat little children. Glorifying fangs and fake blood and whiskers and ghosts.
I was terrified. I eyeballed every strange car, every van, plotted my way home through alternate routes in case I had to, you know, make a break for it. I lived in my head. I spun rumors from middle school kids into my own reality.
I am pretty sure Halloween began my inclination to write my own stories. I don’t, as of now, write horror or anything gruesome but I always, always have in the back of my head something a little off. Something a little spooky or out of the ordinary. So, I guess, instead of costumes and role playing, I force the characters in my head to play dress up for me – often with a twinge of something not quite right.
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