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Scary Memories for Halloween with a Double-barrel Shotgun

Published by Lanny Berch

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Trick-or-treating for me was a new adventure which came when I was really too old to be doing such a thing. If I went when I was younger (before I moved into the foster home at age eight), I can’t remember. My foster parents felt trick-or-treating was a form of begging and didn’t want us to have any part of it. I also think my foster mother, who was a devout Seventh Day Adventist, believed Halloween was not a day Christians should be celebrating. But my foster parents broke down one year when I was twelve or thirteen and said us kids could go. I think they thought we wouldn’t want to take them up on their offer because it was too childish. But that wasn’t the case. I wanted to experience it at least once in my life, not to have scary memories for Halloween, but just to say I went at least once.

The big night came and we all dressed up in our Halloween costumes. My foster parents laughed and sent us out the door. “Be careful and watch for cars,” my foster mother warned. None of us expected anything more scary than someone saying, “Boo!” We certainly didn’t expect to come away with scary memories for Halloween to last a lifetime.

We lived in a rural area but there was a small town of about twenty-five houses a mile from where we lived. Once we reached the town we knocked on every door. Excitement grew as each piece of candy drop into my sack. But with only twenty-five houses it was all over in thirty minutes. No scary memories for Halloween there. At the far end of the town we stood around in a group trying to decide whether to go the half-mile down the street to the couple of houses there, or go home.

That’s a long walk for just a couple pieces of candy, I said.

Yeah, one of my foster brothers agreed. “That would be kind of silly.”

Then someone said, “I’ve got a great idea. Why don’t we switch masks and hit these houses again?”

We all agree it was a fantastic idea. We traded masks and marched back to the last house we visited and rang the doorbell. When the man opened the door, we all yelled, “Trick-or-treat!” He gladly gave us more candy. Then we regrouped on the street.

Hey, that worked great, I said. “Why don’t we try changing masks again.” We all agreed.

We went to the same house and rang the doorbell. The door swung open and we shouted our greeting. This is when it turned into scary memories for Halloween. The man said, “I know all you guys did was change masks and this is the third time you’ve come to my house.” Then he reached behind the door and pulled out a double-barrel shotgun. He held it up by the barrel. “You boys better start running before I start shooting!”

I don’t think three boys ever ran so fast in their lives. My heart pounded so loudly, I was sure everyone in that small town could hear it. That put scary memories for Halloween in all of us. We ran the entire mile home . We couldn’t tell my foster parents what happened because we had tried to pull a fast one, and that would not have set well. So when we raced into the house, huffing and puffing, we simply told them it was cold outside and we were in a hurry to get home, so we ran.

Thankfully they never questioned us, but I vowed I’d never go trick-or-treating again. The small amount of candy we got was nowhere near worth having my life threatened. That’s the sort of scary memories for Halloween nobody wants.



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