Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween: Yesterday and Today

“For as long as she could remember, Jilly MacPherson had always loved October. She loved the vibrant colors, the smoky scent in the air, and the feeling of things being just on the brink of change. Jilly lived at the end of a street on the edge of town, in a big Victorian house that had more room than she would ever need, a huge garden out back and an apple orchard on the hill. She shared the house’s thirteen rooms with three cats she’d rescued from the county shelter and their nemesis, Jinx. It was a peaceful life that was just right for Jilly, in spite of what the townspeople often said about her. But after almost a year of living here alone, she was used to their talk, and she seldom felt lonely. It was infinitely better than the life she’d left behind.” 

This excerpt is from October Spell, one of the mini-romances in my latest release, Autumn’s Gold, that is available on Amazon. Like Jilly, I’ve always enjoyed the third season, and especially Halloween that caps off the glorious month of October. I love the brilliant colors and misty fields, and since we live not far from a plethora of farms, the many pumpkin stands that decorate the landscape this time of year. I always make sure I have a few pumpkins in my yard, along with my favorite scarecrows. While I’m up for a good ghost story, and I don’t mind a little creepy, spooky stuff, I’m more for the fun aspects of the holiday, and less of the scary. I do remember a couple of times that I did get some good scares, though, and they’ve always stuck in my mind.

As newlyweds, my husband and I lived in a small summer cottage for a few months. It was the first time I could anticipate handing out treats on Halloween, since I’d lived in the country all my life where houses were few and far between. I was excited and bought a ton of candy, expecting lots of trick or treaters. Then nobody came, and I was so disappointed. Finally, I heard someone at the door, and I was ready to give them all the candy. Except when I went to the door, no one was there. I was just ready to look outside when a tall witch stepped into the doorway right in front of me. I about passed out. It was only my neighbor, dressed up and going around with her boys, but man, for a second there she had me.

When my daughter was about six, I took her and two of her young cousins to a haunted house at our local mall. It was put on by the community college’s drama department, and I truly did not expect it to be that scary (think a few funny masks and maybe some jack-o-lanterns). WRONG! It was a nightmare, with some guy lying in a casket and a woman standing next to it sobbing. Then there was the guy with the chainsaw who asked if we wanted to be next to get chopped up. I was  glad to get us out of there, and I was so sorry I’d taken the kids through it. I was sure they were traumatized, but I’m guessing years later I probably remember more about it than they do. There is a very elaborate haunted house theme park about 20 miles from us that brings in tons of visitors every year, but I’ve never been able to bring myself to go to it. Guess I’m not as brave as I think I am. I would probably rather just enjoy a nice ride in the country like we did last Sunday, to see the beautiful fall colors.

After many more years of living in the country, we are now in a subdivision, and I enjoy having kids trick or treating at my door. I’m sure Zombie, our resident black cat, will be more than happy to help me greet them while his brother Sammie will probably just hide till it’s all over. I’m thinking maybe Zombie will have to wear at least a Halloween bandanna. I’m just hoping for the weather to hold out so I don’t get stuck with too many of those fun-size candy bars.

Happy Halloween!