Sitting uncomfortably on my kitchen chair, waiting for the doorbell to ring,
I think back to past Halloweens, underlying feelings - this uneasiness thing.
Do these feelings stem from my childhood or knowledge of All Hallows’ eve,
Or is it that I live way out in the country - has my mind just taken its leave.
Historically this night was thought to be, all wandering souls’ last chance
To revenge their enemies before entering the realm of their final dance.
Costumes and masks were worn to avoid being recognized by a lost soul,
Jack-o-lanterns of turnips remembered those in purgatory, that was the goal.
Raised in a quiet little village, Halloween was always a time of high alert,
Rumors and folklore outlined of terrible fires, of animals and people hurt,
I would watch my father the town’s clerk prepare for this horrendous night,
Each sign of concealment, a whisper just added to my ever growing fright.
Store owners sat quietly in the dark waiting for pranksters to soap windows,
The farmers watched for signs of movement by barns and over meadows.
Volunteer fire fighters sat by the phone to respond covertly to any barn fire,
No sirens were used tonight, reduce the alarm, or so they tried to conspire.
My best friend lived out in the country, we would trick or treat together,
Her parents drove us around all the country roads in the stormy weather.
Pumpkins would flicker eerily on the railings of front porches as a guide,
Acknowledging someone was home with treats, you were welcome inside.
But every single cornstalk moved in different directions adding to my fear,
No doorbells to ring or bright street lights to show the masquerades clear,
Fires burned in the distance, yellow and orange flames licked at the night sky,
Now cars pull down my gravel driveway, is this a murderer, am I going to die.
With each knock, I take my life in my hands and open the front door,
This time I see a little princess and a funky monster walk onto my floor.
It is now late and I move to the jack-o-lantern to blow out the candle,
Another Halloween - the fear and fright - too much for me to handle.
Written September 7, 2012
For Gail Doyle’s Halloween Night contest