HalloweenNow we had many streets that connected our neighborhood. The whole thing sort of spiraled around down a big hill and certain streets shot off into corners and dead ends. The whole neighborhood was surrounded by miles and miles of woods. And to an eight year old at night, that might as well be hell. Our house was in the middle of all that. That age where the edge of your neighborhood was the edge of your world. Yards, turning into woods, sectioned off by crumbling stone walls long forgotten by parents and adults. We even had a decrepit old barn (the red Barn) in the middle of a field that held rusty rakes and iron things. And on a dare you could almost get inside by yourself before the screams began to well up inside you. Making you run blindly back through the field to safety. There was a dirt road that never got developed and wound about a mile into the bramble. Eleven months out of the year these were just places. In summer they were spots for high adventure, places that the dinosaur’s roamed. But in October, everything turned. You could feel the things that lay in the witch grass just beyond the dead end. The eyes staring back at you as you passed the pond on the way home for supper. Death creeped in turning things yellow and brown and wicked.

There was a house down a very long driveway, that twisted and turned. From the road you could barely see the house lights at night. The sound of dogs barking could be heard throughout most of the neighborhood. Rumors of evil undoubtedly spread. Evil. Six wild hounds that would tear you apart if you came near his house. And some of the older kids even got shot at as they tried to get a closer look. An old man who lived alone, he had crooked teeth and a shot gun. And he did things, bad things. His name was Nick Pasolo, and the legend was that he went mad. And even though he was never seen, everyone called him Uncle Nick, and he lived down Uncle Nicks road.

One Halloween my brother Chris and I stood at the top of uncle nicks road and made a dare. It was foolish. I think I was a ghost and Chris was a Dracula. I had on your standard bed sheet and his face was painted white. Huge one piece plastic teeth stuck in his mouth pushing his lips out, and the occasional llsssst! to suck the spit back in as he talked. We stood there in the dark and made a dare. We were going to do it. We were going to walk down that road and see the devil. We were so scared that we may have been holding hands. Ready at any moment for a pack of red eyed hounds to burst through the woods and surround us. Maybe to hold us down by our necks and wait for the madman. To hear the giggle of some insane clown with broken teeth and one gray eye. Nothing. just the sound of gravel under our feet. When we approached the porch we could hear the sounds of tv from inside and the blue flicker began to light up the sky like lightning. Chris rang the bell. Ding… Dong… That was it. The longest sound I have ever heard. Every part of my body wanted to run. I would have run straight through the woods all the way home if Chris had even turned to look at me. But he was in a trance. A little Dracula wide eye staring straight ahead, waiting. waiting for the devil Frightened out of his little dracula mind.

An old man answered the door. He was dressed in a T-shirt and he had white hair. He was sort of round and he had a soft nice face. He looked like he just woke up. ” Jeepers” He said, “What day is it?” rubbing his balding head. “It’s Halloween Uncle nick!” we said back and held out our bags.” Uncle Nick” he muttered. he looked confused. “wait here” he said, and went to the kitchen. When he returned he had a box of cookies. “I’m sorry, I never get visitors” he said. “What are you a ghost” he asked. As he dumped the whole box of cookies in our bags. Yes a ghost. “Listen, if you see any more kids, tell them to come by” he asked us, and we left. “No one ever comes here” he said as we walked back up the driveway.

That was it. that was my last Halloween trick or treating I think. It was most certainly the last one I remember. It sucks leaving childhood. Miss those days.


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