October 31, 2011


“Heart Land” has a chapter entitled “Of Ghost, Goblins and Little Green Men.”  In this Halloween story, the children of my fictional town avoid knocking at the dentist’s door because he treats them to bundles of sliced carrots and celery.  Anyone below the age of thirteen knows the holiday isn’t a time to worry about cavities; it’s a time to hunt for candy as if it were gold bullion. 

When I was child, adults understood my ghostly visit and after a couple of hours marauding through the neighborhood, I’d arrive home with a pillowcase full of sweets: candied apples, chocolate chip cookies, Mars bars and little sacks full of Carmel corn. Fears about cavities were the domain of my mother who confiscated the haul and doled it out again in installments, like a stingy banker.

I love the holiday even as an adult. A visit from ghosts and goblins no taller than my waist floods me with childhood memories. And I smile at each swarthy pirate who threatens me with “Trick or Treat.” 


October is the perfect season for this pageant of costumes and the chance to play at being naughty. The trees stand in harlequin colors — red, yellow, green – and the wind, under the moon’s pale light, whips their branches to create shadows that leap out and cry “Boo!”  

Tonight, in the darkness, I will peer from my window… waiting, waiting until something wicked this way comes!