Three words to put fear into the heart of any small boy.
Actually, it was more like “woohoohoo” if I recall correctly….
Good morning world and thank you for tuning in to another here on Planet Magnet! As you probably know today is All Hallows Day or All Saints Day, celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church and parts of other Protestant denominations to name a few
Yes, yes, I know I’m a day late for the title matter but it wasn’t until last night when I realised there were children roaming around the area where I live that I remembered a story that I had long since secured the never visited recesses of my mind.
You see in my world this Halloween thing is a bit of a non starter. Being a single man with a grown son, living on the top floor of an apartment block and not being one to enjoy dressing up, I have to admit it regularly passes me by.
Yet in this country, year on year, it is getting bigger and bigger as we do our damnedest to play catch up with the U.S.A and their love of all things Tricking and Treating. There are houses completely given over the the traditions of All Hallows Eve, there are children and their parents bedecked in fanciful costumes such as the Grimm Reaper, Dracula and the latest one I have just seen, Maleficent. All look quite amazing to be honest. But again, not being a fan, you would never see me partake in any of this costume wearing and so I find myself following friends on the Facebook who have taken the time and effort to go the extra mile and try to scare the bejesus out of people, or at least look as good as they can for the camera 🙂
But that wasn’t the way it always was.
I remember as a child, I had heard of this night time march around the neighbourhood, knocking on doors and treating the poor folk who dared to answer to the phrase “Trick or Treat”. Demanding sweets and candy bars lest the owner of the said abode be terrorised by the naughty children with smelly eggs or the wayward children with the penchant for much more sinister tricks involving fireworks or paper bags with Fido’s best produce sitting inside, burning brightly on the poor unsuspecting homeowners Coir outside doormat….
Oh the tall tales that would be told by the children at school the following day were always so believable, especially when the ones swapping stories hadn’t even reached their teen years yet. The one up-manship was paramount to the story telling becoming ever more unbelievable and as it escalated, their realms of fantasy, stuff and nonsense were borne into legend with heroes crowned amongst young friends.
I can now as an adult confess to taking part in the stories, telling tales along with everyone else, making things up to make myself sound like the perfect little scallywag with no respect for authority (not a chance for me) But there is one tale that I have never told and if I am honest, it is the only one that probably really ever happened….
Many years ago, when I was a child (and it was quite a few) there were things called family dinners where the entire family sat down to eat together, usually around 5.45pm or so. Back in the seventies this time of day was actually known as Tea time because thats when we ate our tea. Dinner time was actually during the day in what most people today recognise as Lunch time. We would sit as a family, myself, my brother and my parents around an oval shaped table, on chairs that each played a different tune depending on how you moved on them, but never in front of my Father…. 😉
I sat closest to the doorway into the dining room so if ever the door was knocked I would get up and run to answer it pretending to be helpful but more often than not simply trying to be nosy. However, back in those days the door was never really knocked between 5pm and 7pm at night because all of the families with their 2.4 children, their hatchback motorcar and their much loved family pet, would know that during this time the people of this street ate their tea and didn’t want to be disturbed whilst having a slice of standard white with margarine spread on it so they could they soak up the gravy from their dinner plate.
Well on one particular night of All Hallows Eve, the door knocked and excitement overtook me. Who could be knocking our door at Tea time? Everyone around here knows not to knock at Tea time should maybe have been some of my thoughts or considerations at this stage but unfortunately they weren’t and in my haste to get to the front door my mind was empty of thought and simply a blank canvas ready to be imprinted upon. And imprinted upon it was because as I opened the door, I was greeted by a ghostly site. Three disembodied shapes looking completely incorporeal to an eleven year old boy met me with a chorus of “Woohoo,hoo,hoo!”
I tried to slam the door.
I turned to run back to the dinning room screaming some more as I went, but my path was blocked by my mother smiling, neigh laughing at what she had just witnessed.
I think I may have started to cry and my mother probably hugged me and told me it was okay, but as much as I remonstrated with her not to open the front door because of what was out there, still she insisted that she should and that I should be present when it happened. However, as much as I fought was as much as I laughed when the door reopened to reveal what had scared me so. It was three little girls from the other side of out street, with sheets over their heads and eye holes cut out so they could clearly see their victims fright.
Oh No! That’s what had frightened me so much?
The old sheet over the head trick?
The oldest one in the ghostly dressing up book!
The amount of times I had seen it on Scooby Doo and said that I would never fall for that one, I could not even begin to count.
Yet here I was, a victim of the sheet over the head ghost disguise and the victim of a situation that I would never live down!
I think it is fair to say that I felt silly, embarrassed and utterly stupid that I had been caught out by three little girls, but my god it stayed with me for a mighty long time and I would imagine (although I have no proof of this) that my brother and my father were merciless with me on the subject for the next few weeks – knowing how they both loved to make the most of such excellent material. But I suppose it eventually calmed down and was as I say, locked away for another time in my life when I might share of my own accord, the night I saw my first ghost….
Stay out of the fridge.