The Ultimate Fright Night ~ haibun

The Ultimate Fright Night

As he had for years, he placed a large bowl of candy on the table just inside the door of his home, put decorations on the outside of the door, placed an orange bulb in the lamppost, and waited for the children to ring his doorbell as they called out the cheerful chant, “Trick or Treat.” But times had changed, and fewer children roamed the streets on this festive night. Concerns for safety meant parents took their children to churches and malls for their treats, and each year fewer and fewer superheroes and princesses appeared at his door, leaving him with a bowlful of sugary sweets to ration for himself for the next few months.

But this year he waited in vain, for there were no smiling faces, and no one rang the doorbell looking for treats. In the true spirit of this frightful night, the children had one more reason to listen to the words they had heard for so long, “Don’t take candy from strangers.”

blue moon curse
on All Hallows’ Eve
COVID plague

This is my response to Haibun Monday 10-26-20: Happy Halloween!,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

45 thoughts on “The Ultimate Fright Night ~ haibun

  1. I’ve always found trick-or-treating an odd thing, mostly because I never went as a child. (Farm in the middle of nowhere, can’t really trick-or-treat without neighbours). I do appreciate how much effort people put into decorations though. The act of turning your house into art for the enjoyment of everyone else is a lovely one.

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  2. This is indeed a sad and true story. Each year it has diminished in tradition and now, it is gone this year (for a very good reason, of course). I can’t say that I look forward to Halloween or care much for it, but I feel solemn for the children who were looking forward to dressing up and such. I also think that parents believe it’s easier to buy the children candy rather than having to accompany their children to events or in the front of strangers’ homes. Which, yeah, it is easier but it’s for the fun of it.

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    • That excitement in a very young child can be contagious. In seeing children at the door, once they’re in that post-Santa phase the light in their eyes seems dimmer, and pretty much amounts to boredom for the young teens. But still, that contagious light that comes from the little ones!
      My son sent photos of my granddaughter (2 yrs. old next month) when they took her to the Cleveland Zoo for trick-or-treating. The smiles on mom’s & dad’s faces was all the proof I needed.

      And here’s a tangent… what do we remember of our own experiences at that age? But kids today? My granddaughter will be seeing those photos (and others) forever. What will that mean for her memories? Will the photos become her memories, or will they help maintain them as she grows out of them?

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  3. We long for those innocent times when we could trust the treats given our children, and know they’re safe as they walk the neighborhood. So sad to say goodbye to those times.

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  4. I have so many happy memories of Halloween trick or treating. It was a big thing in our area and we could be out for hours. Add that to the fact that our family usually had a big bonfire cookout with our neighbors, spooky! and it was really a landmark in the year. I am sorry things cannot be like that these days, for so many reasons.

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  5. I think there may be more Halloween decorations this year. It’s the half-term break, and there’s nowhere to go and nothing to do – so there’ll be lots of crafting going on!

    We live very rurally, so trick or treating wasn’t a massive thing – and we knew everybody we visited. I’m not wild about the commercialisation of Halloween (or the sugar overload) but I do like the festivals that reclaim the night as a place of wonder and excitement for children, and all of us really.

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  6. Like Carol, I find trick-or-treating an odd thing, mostly because it didn’t exist in the UK when I was a child, the main event for us was Guy Fawkes Night. But I enjoy handing out (healthy) treats and greeting children at the door. I don’t see that happening this year. I haven’t been outside for a while, so I don’t know if anyone in our village has Halloween decorations, which I think are great fun. What I love about your piece is that it is from the point of view of a lonely man who might or might not be dubious.

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    • I’ve seen some pretty good displays in our neighborhood.

      As I wrote this, I realized it sounds like a lonely man. I think that comes from not having seen my children & grandchildren since early December. (700 & 900 miles away, with travel restrictions on top of it)

      The dubious side? That does work for a fright night, doesn’t it?

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  7. I thought the denouement was going to be that the narrator was a serial pedophile. Says something about me, I suppose.

    Since it’s a tradition without very deep roots, it shouldn’t upset us too much if it doesn’t happen this year. Maybe if we got into the habit of digging back to the real meaning of these big commercial festivities it would be possible to mark the occasion in a different way.

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    • Thankfully, that never occurred to me.

      Trick-or-Treating & Halloween (costume) parties are the extent of it in the States, and probably only since the early to mid 1900s. Of course, once commercial interests got into the game it exploded. As intriguing as the traditional roots are, they’re probably lost forever, over here.


      • What’s funny and sad too is that all the modern pagan/wicca mumbo jumbo came from the US. A mash-up of half-baked notions of Celtic culture, making a religion out of what was simply story-telling of pseudo-history and supplying invented bits where the Celtic tradition falls short of anything you could call religious.
        It’s maybe a longing to belong to something really ‘old’ but if you come from a young country that’s difficult. They’d have been better off adopting the traditional beliefs and traditions of the Native Americans.

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