Like most origin stories, mine is filled with tragedy, dark tales and began on a stormy fall night. Wind, rain and thunder rattled the windows of our old house. Violence and tragedy gripped the city, news and citizens. Police were helpless to stop the wave of insanity. It was classic, cliche to some degree.
We completed the finishing touches on our costumes, praying to the Gods the rain would subside soon. My son, decked out as a tiny pirate, asked that I too, take the pirate approach. Abundant drab clothes draped our bodies, covered in grime and dirt as we worked hard for the realistic approach. My son ran around with his cutlass, fighting off those rascally would-be treasure thieves and mutinous buccaneers. As the time arrived to finally hit the streets, the Gods appeased us, relinquishing the rain and clearing up nicely for the festivities to begin.
Swashbuckling our way through the streets on Halloween night, parents accompanied their children with eyes watching closely for suspicious and maniacal persons looming. Halloween inspires fun and fear in equal parts, the essence of it’s joy. However, when the fear is real, the fun dissipates quickly. Thankfully, my wife and I hid these dark truths from our son. Innocent children had no need for thoughts such as these.
Despite our fears, the night was a lot of fun and mostly uneventful. He and his friends gathered bountiful sacks of candy – or in his case, a treasure of booty. Happily, we made our way home. Tired and overjoyed, we walked up to the house. In the distance, the storm appeared to rage on over the mountain, outlining the old MacArthur mansion in ominous haze.
Not much had happened there since the place was condemned by the city those many years ago. It was merely a haunting reminder of darker times. Of times we did not speak of. Tonight’s storm was a frightening reminder of then.
My son ran inside, tossing his treasure chest on the floor, beginning his methodical sort in haste. My wife stood outside, staring at the old mansion.
“Honey… come here,” she said, apprehension gripping her tone.
I joined her, staring at the mansion. As lightning continued to flash, a flickering light could be seen just inside one of the windows.
“Is there someone inside that?” she asked.
“Probably some kids trying to scare each other tonight,” I said, thinking little of it. I pulled her by the hand inside.
She relented, pulling her hand away and walking back.
“I’m not so sure,” she said.
Returning outside, the light in the house grew ominously. Moments later, a green crackling light grew brighter and brighter.
“What the hell is that?” I said to no one in particular.
The light became near blinding and flashed quite suddenly so brightly we shut our eyes as if the sun had instantly shown through a dark cloud.
When we awoke, the sun was up, and neighbors all around began stirring, sitting up in a haze of confusion. Over the next few hours, confusion turned to panic as the reality took grip. Whatever that light had been, whatever it did had permanently altered us. Whatever we were the night before – werewolf, zombie, naughty nurse or pirate – we were that now and forever.
My costume, makeup and wig all were fused to me. Integrated into my very being. What was once a pleasant town, was now one that would forever be the town of Halloween.
The question was – return to our normal lives, or embrace the change? Argh – the choices!