The illuminated porch light—the signal that this house is open for business. There is candy behind the decorated door. One only has to ring the doorbell.
I meander slowly up the sidewalk, keeping a keen eye on the lawn decorated with cobwebs and tombstones. It is too dark to see the all the grass, and I look desperately for any sort of subtle movement, any sort of sign that this is a trap. I try to tune out the eerie music and the flashing strobe light.
My mother urges me on, pushing lightly on my shoulder with a firm hand so I keep moving forward. I am glued to my mother; the back of my quilted jacket swooshes against her blue jeans.
It is either raining or snowing if it’s Halloween in Michigan. It doesn’t matter what my costume is. It’s covered up by a bulky parka. Perhaps that’s why all my costumes were store-bought and used more than just one year. Face paint becomes incredibly important to the costume, since it is the only part that is visible.
I reach up and scratch my nose, forgetting about the thick wax-like color smoothed over my skin. My finger returns blotched. I’m sure my makeup is now smeared.
I’ve made it to the steps of the porch. I look back at the road. My dad is stalking us in the van. In the country, it’s not just as easy as wandering around to the neighbors. Neighbors are at least an acre apart. There are only ten houses on our entire street. So we take trick-or-treating on the road. The van pulls up to a new string of houses, we jump out, go door to door as the van follows close behind; then we pile back in when we’ve exhausted all the nearby homes and head off to find a new neighborhood.
My mother rings the doorbell while I hold my breath. Who will pop out from behind this heavy door? May they be a good witch, not a bad witch.
Once in our living room again, safe and sound and warm and dry, I dump my pillow case out on the carpet and take inventory of my loot. None of this would be worth it if I didn’t love Reese’s cups so much.
When I grow up, I’ll keep the porch light turned off and pretend the holiday doesn’t exist.