It’s a shame when bullies turn a fun tradition into a frightening experience for the elderly, but beware – sometimes all is not as it seems. 😀
‘Did you get the box of sweets as I asked you?’
‘I told you, we’re getting too old for all that rubbish. Anyway, the kids round here are just vandals, spoilt brats who don’t appreciate anything. Not like the old days when they were happy with an orange at Christmas or….’
‘Yes, alright. I’ve heard it all before, a million times. So you forget then? Not to worry, I’ve been making some so there should be enough, as long as they don’t get greedy. Now go and do something useful while I clean up the kitchen. You could hang the spiders’ webs in the porch if you’ve got nothing better to do.’
‘Daft old bat,’ the old man grumbled as he wandered off. ‘It’s not as if we have our own grandchildren to amuse on Halloween, but she still insists on joining in the spirit of the day, and who gets lumbered with all the hard work? Me, that’s who.’ Sighing, he dragged out the ladder from the garden shed and started organising the display by the front door.
An hour later he stood back and looked at his handiwork with satisfaction. The subdued glow was just enough to give a hint of the witch, standing in the corner ready to pounce. In front of her the strobe lighting made it seem as if the cauldron was bubbling with its mix of eye of newt and toe of frog. Giant spiders hung down from the web netting, which raised the hairs on the arms of anyone brave enough to try to push through. In the other corner the skeleton stood immobile, ready to spring to life if anyone tried to take more than a few of the sweets on the plate delicately balanced in front of them.
‘All done,’ he said to his wife as he went into the kitchen for some well-earned refreshments.
‘Does the mechanism work properly for the greedy ones?’
‘Perfectly. Just be careful when you go to the door.’
The first knock came about 5.30 that evening. Peering through the curtains the old lady saw two young girls giggling nervously as they stepped back from the porch, while their parents stood guard by the gate.
‘Trick or treat?’ they asked politely.
‘Well, my lovelies. I think I can find something special for you,’ the old woman cackled, returning from the kitchen with two large bags of home-made fudge.
‘Don’t forget to say thank you,’ the father called to the girls from the gate. ‘That’s a fantastic display. Brilliant. Happy Halloween.’
‘Thank you very much.’ ‘Thank you,’ the two little voices piped up as they ran to rejoin their parents.
Several people paused to admire the exhibits as they passed, and more trick or treaters were brave enough to knock and collect their reward. It wasn’t until several hours later that a ruckus outside interrupted the couple’s viewing of a film on TV. The old man glanced at the closed-circuit camera then said to his wife, ‘Here they come. The yobs. Do you want me to go?’
‘No, I will. Some of these teenagers are quite decent once you get to know them, despite the way they look. You just be ready in case I need some back-up.’
As she shuffled to open the door the group of three lads were already in the front garden, knocking against her roses, and edging each other on with jeers and cat-calls.
‘Hey, you old witch. Trick or treat? It had better be a treat or you’ll regret it. Never mind the stupid sweets, give us some money or else.’
‘Be careful son,’ said the old man, appearing behind her. ‘You’re damaging her flowers. She gets upset if people do that.’
‘Yeah, and wotcha going to do about it Granddad? Take us all on?’ The lout puffed out his chest and turned to grin at his two companions, as full of himself as if he’d challenged and beaten a giant.
‘Yeah,’ said his mate. ‘Give us yer money if you know what’s good for you.’
The three boys swaggered up the path, as if they were prepared to force their way in and help themselves. They were surprised when the old couple didn’t slam the door shut, or back away, but stood waiting patiently until they approached.
The old man didn’t flinch as the leader pushed his face up close, and demanded, ‘For the last time, give us some money or else.’ The other two huddled closer, reassured that one ancient bloke and an old woman would be no match for three fit young men.
‘Have a care son. You won’t want to push your luck with things you don’t understand. It could turn out badly for you.’
‘Can you believe this guy?’ the boy asked his cronies in amazement, trying to hide the slight quiver in his voice. ‘He thinks he can threaten me!’
With that he grabbed a handful of sweets from the tray and went to throw them at the old man. Three screams rent the air as the lads felt themselves descending into blackness.
‘Told you the trapdoor still works fine,’ the man said to his wife as he quietly closed the door. ‘We’d better get down to the cellar before the ghouls get to them, or there’ll be nothing left for the pot. Silly boys, they can’t say they weren’t warned. Still, we won’t need to visit the butchers for a while. Plenty of meat on them, especially the tubby one.’
© Voinks September 2017
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