It lingers with me- the sickening feeling.
I was on the way home from Jr. High. I had finished basketball practice- so I took the late bus that would deposit me at the edge of my neighborhood as the first hint of night approached.
This left little time for me to dress up for Halloween. I'd procrastinated. I was still trying to adjust to life as a Jr. High student and hadn't given Trick or Treat much head space.
What would I wear? How should I haul the candy? A lunch bag? A pillowcase?
Then I realized something- I was too old for Halloween.
Sure. I could go but I couldn't think of a single reason why I kid my age and sprouting height deserved a treat. Surely there would be the admonishing adult who would ask me, "Aren't you a little old to be trick-or-treating?"
So I did the next best thing.
I devised a scheme to scare all the kids who would be coming to my house. They'd get their treat all right. (Is this how all villains start out?)
I fashioned a ghost out of a sheet and a basketball. I wrapped my belt-robe to create a neck. I used a coat hanger to hold the head upright... the hook portion would come in handy. I tied a line from the front yard tree to the TV antenna on the roof. I put a speaker in the bush and ran a long wire up to the roof- from this high perch I stood- holding onto my ghost that had a very long leash. As kids approached I'd send the ghost down to the sidewalk... then I'd yank on the rope to stop the ghost in front of the approaching victims kids. The haunting was heightened by my ghoulish taunts- relayed from microphone to bush.
I was pretty proud of this do-it-yourself fright fest until I made a little trick-or-treater cry.
Ashamed, I dismantled the haunting kit and tracked down the little lady bug and apologized.
I offered a full size Snickers as a guilt payment. To this day I'm conflicted. If there's a place in hell for a over-the-top Halloween revelers, surely I was earning a place on the seating chart. But- no more. I've since dedicated myself to the treat portion of the festivities.
So... even though I've given up the spook-game it doesn't mean I won't help the rest of you hone your skills.
Wired Magazine has created a wiki. That's a collaborative website for people to share ideas. The theme of this one appears to be the ultimate guide to Halloween mastery.
For starters, they'll help you:
- Make Fake Blood
- Make Fake Smoke
- Build a Giant Spider Web
- Download Some Freaky Sounds
Is that too pedestrian? Add your own! Here's the place to get started:
But a simple plea: Be kind to the Lady Bugs.
Photo Credit: "Ladybug Raingear" by Kyle Flood