Halloween…A Love Story, A Sad Story

Another Halloween has come and gone. Another season of skulls and horror movies and carving pumpkins. Another night of becoming something else, of facing that which scares us. The crunch of leaves underfoot. The colors of fall. The chill in the air. There’s nothing like Halloween.

As a kid, I couldn’t wait for my dad to get home so we could go trick-or-treating. Always proudly wearing my costume to school that day. Always ready for a bag full of candy that never lasted until Christmas like I hoped.

When we moved to this big old house with a front porch…and his kids no longer wandered the streets begging for candy…Halloween evolved. My dad set about creating a scary scene on Halloween night. I remember the first Halloween in our new house. I remember the creepy sounds and flashing lights. I remember the kids who were too scared to come up to the front door. As my sisters were up in their rooms or watching TV, who knows, I was hovering at the front window, watching Halloween.

As the years passed, Dad added new terrors to the porch, which eventually spilled out onto the front yard. This tradition continues. Each year he looks for a new scare. Each year he finds a new creepy mask. Each year he stands at his front door in his mask and robe with a bowl of candy and waits.

When I got married and moved away and into my own house…I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted Halloween. We had moved into a city neighborhood, a street lined with houses. So I got lights. I got a scary music CD. Hubs made me headstones. I constructed ghosts. I bought skulls and bones. I found a caldron to hold the candy. And the yard glowed with terror.

I stood at the door, handing out candy, smiling at the compliments for my decorations, and drinking in the night. Even after the trick-or-treaters had gone, I sat on my porch in the middle of the lights and sounds and enjoyed the chill on my skin, the gray of the night, the leaves skittering across the road.

Then one year a ‘For Sale’ sign was added to my decor. That year, many parents of trick-or-treaters told me they’d miss me, that my house was always a favorite, and a few asked where we would be moving, so they could find me. Too far, I answered. To a little town outside the city, to a street away from people.

Out here in the middle of nowhere, where miles don’t hold as many houses as that city block, where I have a great front porch, one perfect for Halloween decorations…but no trick-or-treaters. I bought candy the first year…I put out my skeletons and spider webs, to be disappointed.

In a few years, my kids were old enough to haunt the streets in hopes of candy, so we drove into town, parked, and joined the fun. I loved those years, being a part of Halloween again.

But that ended.

Now on Halloween, I decorate my house. I watch horror movies and remember.

For Halloween goes on without me, away from me. I live for texts from my mom showing pictures of Dad’s yard, for updates on the kids that wouldn’t climb the stairs or set foot on the sidewalk to approach the big man in a mask.

I miss it…a lot. I love my big house in the country, but if I could have one thing from the city, it would be Halloween. The one night I want to be around people, that I want to be among the crowds. So I will do what I do to make me happy on that bestest of nights and wait…for maybe Halloween will evolve again.


  • Victoria Nations
    November 3, 2017

    Oh, this is beautiful and so sad. We dream of living other places someday, but this week reminded me of how much I would miss our yard of skeletons and TOT’s.

    • Kathy Palm
      Victoria Nations
      November 6, 2017

      I miss it so much! I am glad I had it for a while.

  • petrifiedblog
    November 8, 2017

    When I moved in to the place I’m at now, I was very excited for Halloween, too. My son & I had spooky music playing from the house, we set up a fortune teller’s table down at the end of the walkway of our front door, decorated what we hoped would appear to be a haunted house & graveyard behind us on a small mound off to the side of the walkway, dressed to impress & hopefully amuse!, had an extra, extra large plastic cauldron of candy ready – all the favs, all chocolate! – and waited. And waited. And waited. And… waited.

    We saw, maybe 6 kids at our gates that night. We live on a lot with 3 houses, or cottages, on it; we’re the middle. Each little cottage can be seen from the street, because of the way that they are set on the property; all individual free-standing, all done up with the spirit of Halloween. But, only about 6 trick-or-treaters haunted us here that night. We were so stunned. We were so sad. We were so heartbroken. We could hear kids laughing all around us, from up at the ends of the block, but none really coming this way, then our neighbors, if at the front door facing the street, to the right of us said that kids hardly come up n’ down this block, it’s just always been a sort of dry spot; with the main strip passing out candy & all the houses in the hills, just 6-blocks away… Halloween just really didn’t come to our street. Hmm.

    Well, so, my son & I went to the ends of the block n’ started letting kids know that we were here – along with 2 other homes – and we all had treats to satisfy the spooky spirits of the night! We wrangled a few, but – it’s a little worrisome, uh, yes it is, to have shadowed stranger in a fortune teller outfit & Frankenstein’s monster “luring” you down the street with the promise of candy. Yipes! So, of course it wasn’t exactly the most comfortable of scenes, so… as I walked to the opposite end of the block, where my son was, to tell him no to worry too much, I got the best of ideas! And, this quote popped into my head – “Halloween isn’t a day, it’s a season!” (I don’t know why that jetted through there at the moment, in that circumstance, but it did; and, with it trailed the most batty of ideas!

    Who says I have to wait – wait! – for the ghoulish masses to come to me? I can just go to them! Wasn’t this all started with the idea to “appease” these mischievous little spirits in mind? So, why not go-it one step further? Do ’em one better!? Bring Halloween to them!! And, so – we did πŸ˜‰

    My son, a family friend, and I divided the candy into 3 medium-sized plastic cauldrons (I’m ready for anything Halloween here), grabbed the Halloween banner & affixed it to the end of the broom stick (Good-bye broom, we hardly used thee! Oh, and P.S.: So glad you were black!), took along some noise makers (kazoos, a tambourine, small snare drum with strap), and marched on down to old town’s main drag, where all the people n’ laughing n’ haunting n’ spooky delights were taking place, and started the tradition of Reverse Trick-or-Treating or Halloween Night: Takin’ it to the Streets!

    It was just so, so, SO much fun! We got to be the ones suddenly shrieking out with delight, “Trick-or-Treat!” n’ “Happy Halloween!” Or, “Candy! Candy! Getchur candy right here!”, “Who wants some of this?! You want some of this?!” We got to be as silly, off-beat n’ outlandish in the goofing department that we wanted to be! And now – we look forward to this Halloween every year… it’s been 7-years πŸ™‚

    Since that first Halloween night, we’ve steadily added more friends along. We’ve even moved on up the hill, and around the neighborhood, in general. We’ve started our own rag-tag parade of Gypsies, Imps & Vamp(ire)s here, and it’s great!

    So far, no one seems to truly understand what we’re doing… Every year, for the most part, folks look confused & delighted – but – this year a few people, just a few, did actually let us know that they were keeping an eye out for us, and hoping that they’d see us. Hooray!!!

    • Kathy Palm
      November 8, 2017

      I love this so much! YOU GO DO HALLOWEEN!!! I have thought about driving into town and setting up a little haunted spot…but wondered if I wouldn’t get the police called on me for being…ummm…creepy. Lol! But maybe…maybe…there is hope.

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