by Rebecca Dance
So I love Halloween, but I hate spiders. This comes at a price, since there are a lot of arachnid-based Halloween decorations. The cobwebs, the motion-activated ones that drop down, the big ones that perch on rooftops or as door decorations… I can’t stand them. I always jump, despite the reasonable evidence that the spider with purple striped legs and a five foot diameter is probably a piece of plastic blown up as a lawn decoration. There’s still a split second where I have to stop myself from shrieking.
On the other hand, skeleton decorations bring me a lot of joy. I like the fake graveyards set up in people’s yards, or skeletons posed as though they are walking. Even the skeletons seated on front porches or lawn chairs make me smile because they represent the Halloween secret. Obviously, decorations are difficult in a dorm because we have to worry about things like the money to purchase them and fire safety codes when we try to hang them up. And we lack certain important things, like a yard or a porch on which to set up decorations.
In lieu of decorating my door, I will relate my favorite story about decorations from my trick-or-treating days.
The house was at the end of a cul-de-sac. There were no broken windows, no creaky doors, and no peeling paint. Apart from the decorations, there was nothing scary about it. The people who lived there had added skeletal and zombified hands reaching from the lawn near plastic headstones along the driveway, and there was a blow-up pumpkin dominating the front lawn. Their porch had a light projector throwing orange, purple, and white dots around the front door. Speakers blasted a witch’s cackling down the street. I approached, confident in my knowledge at 8 years old that all of this was fake and there wasn’t anything to scare me.
I was extraordinarily wrong.
At the end of a cackle, with my hand in the candy bowl, the owner of the house popped up on the side of the porch dressed as a witch. She gave her own cackle and reached towards me. Because a witch was now pursuing me, I dropped the candy and sprinted back to my parents, who were standing in the street.
(I did go back and get my candy, and the woman invited me to stay there with her because I was also dressed as a witch. I declined.)