This is the week for chilling tales of witches and goblins, but I must confess that such spine-tingling stories were not really part of my own Halloween tradition. The recent adaptation of Sendak’s brilliant but spare (the text is only 10 lines long) work into a feature-length film had me probing my own mind for spooky Halloween memories.
I know my wife read Wild Things to our children when they were young and she reports that they loved it. For my part, my only contribution to the Halloween genre was an extemporaneous rendering of a story about the “Post Toastie ghostie,” of which not one detail do I recall.
When I was a child, Halloween to me meant trick or treating and a sack full of sugary delights. In those days, people still gave out popcorn balls, homemade baked goods and a smattering of coins, usually of the copper variety. We had a strict rule in my family: No trick or treating after age 12. I was sick the night of my final scheduled round, and though I pleaded for it, was denied an additional year of eligibility. I felt cheated for quite some time.
Halloween is much scarier today. First, there are the parents. Today’s kids travel in packs, often ushered by a convoy of parents, ever alert for sabotaged treats and suspicious characters. Then there are the kids themselves. In my neighborhood, even high school age kids hit the streets in search of a sugar buzz. If they’re not on the street, the older kids can pop into the local metroplex and watch ax killers and chainsaw assassins practice their specialties in explicitly gory fashion.
Personally, I prefer the Sendak variety of scary, or staring into the predictably evil eye of the swamp witch in Big Fish. While popping a few Milk Duds, of course.
Writing prompt for the day: What’s you favorite family story about Halloween?
Flickr photo courtesy of oskay.