Non-Fiction Essay – The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t

Hello,

If you’ve been following me, yay! I’m done with my classes for this term. Fortunately and unfortunately I’ll be free all February. Anyway, I’m still figuring what content I want to add here, so just to keep the posts going here’s another piece I did awhile back. Hope you enjoy.

The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t

Some days are great, while others turn into a puddle of spoiled plans and annoyances. Years ago on a strange Halloween, my favorite time of the year, I almost regretted even leaving the house. Looking back now at my bittersweet memory I recognize how even more frustrating the day must have been for my friend. Realizing that what was an annoying time for me was a bad day for her and that I should have seen my class half full from the beginning. 

For some reason, the last day of October was a warm eighty degrees. Leaving me unhappy and warm under my makeup and fake blood. A recluse by nature, I was happy to stay in front of my porch all afternoon. Passing out candy to the little kids, and some big ones, coming and going in their monster costumes. This is what I was doing when I heard the phone ringing from the open window. Passing through little tornadoes of leaves I returned inside to answer the phone. 

My normally homebody friend had decided that she would not be a hermit and wanted to attend a Halloween party. After about fifteen minutes of me explaining how I was happy where I was, she told me she was on her way to pick me up. About twenty minutes later a happy and energetic witch pulled up in front of my porch, where I left the bowl of candy for the kids to grab or let’s be honest for one kid to grab.

Always a yapper, she started talking as soon as I reached the car door. “Are you a dead person? Oh, a zombie. Don’t worry about the dirt, as you can see the car is a mess.”

Hopping into the car I jumped from both her creepy ring tone and the distant sound of thunder, the sun disappearing as I closed the car door.

“You okay? Ya, it’s supposed to rain. I want to get a new Oracle deck, some crystal’s, I need another angel stone, a new candle, and like 10 incense boxes.”

“Is that it?” I said laughing as it started to rain. The party was at her favorite metaphysical shop.

“I don’t know, maybe. I would get a reading, but it might be too crowded by the time we get there. That was my mom, she wants milk.”

“You just left,” I said, my heartbeat getting faster. Joy had a bad habit of letting her family dictate what she did. “You told your family you’re going to be out, right? You didn’t drag me out for nothing.”

Bopping to the radio she rolled her eyes at me, “No. Ya, it’s Halloween. We’re good. She just needs milk.”

Going to the store and back only took us twenty minutes, and it took her another ten to get out of her mother’s house. Looking up from the radio I was changing, I saw her bouncing form returning to the car. 

“Um…Do you have a stowaway?” I asked when I saw her little sister behind her.

“She needs a ride home. It’s on the way, so…” she said shrugging with a glitter of joy in her eyes.

My eyes must have been saying something different because when she got into the car she laughed and rolled her eyes at me again. It’s not that I didn’t mind helping her sisters out, but I understood how much pull her family had on her. While I don’t mind riding around with her on errands, today wasn’t one of those days when I could be enjoying the day on my own.

“You know, if plans change don’t wait to tell me. I’m cool with even taking the bus back alright?”

“We still have hours before the party’s over. Stop being a downer” 

“Alright, okay, I’m just saying. Cause her place is in the opposite direction…”

Her laughter cut me off, “We have all night, chill.”

Her heightened spirit soothed me, and I let it go. Though, as I saw snowflakes start to fall, I felt more uncertain about that All Hallows’ Eve night.

We made another pit stop at the store for her sister and thirty minutes later were dropping her off. Heading back to our original destination I felt proud and happy. I was proud of my friend for finding time to help her family while still heading out to enjoy herself for a change. While I was happy that I made time to go out with my friend instead of finding an excuse to stay home. Looking for parking we finish up our trash talk about one another, our way to discuss our anxieties, when her creepy ring tone goes off.    

“Don’t answer it.” I tell her.

Against my better judgment, she goes in her purse and rummaged around for her phone. After stopping in to say hi and bye with the promise of returning we’re back in the car to pick up her other sister. 

“It’s okay if we don’t make it back in time, we’ll just go out to eat. Is that okay?” She asked sounding a little bummed but still bouncing to the radio.

Smiling I shrugged off the change of plans and agreed. Any stragglers from the party would end up at the wing place across the way, so as far as I was concerned it would be the same as going to the party any. If not, then we could always go to the 24-hour Huck Finn like always. Back in good spirits, we continue our good-natured arguments on the way to her sister’s job. Picking her up and dropping her off took another hour and indeed we were too late for the party. Not caring at this point she parks the car and we head to the restaurant.

“We’ll have one drink. I don’t want you leaving your car again. We’ll get a bottle on the way home”

“Ya, I don’t want to do that again. But a margarita, right?”

Almost at the door, her purse starts playing creepy music again. I don’t remember how I reacted, but I remember her head bowing and the defeat in her eyes. She could have ignored the call, but I knew she wouldn’t. Another errand that nobody else could have done later found us another hour away from our normal haunts.      

Dejected she says, “I’m going to drop you off. I’m just going home.”

At the time, and even years later I hated her for that night. She was the one that wanted to go out in the first place. Lost was a pleasant memory of giving our candy to trick or treaters. Now a past time that isn’t really done anymore, even before the pandemic. In my last-ditch effort, I remember yelling a monologue.

“No! I refuse to let you give up. We’ve been in this car all evening instead of giving out candy, or eating it. We have all night. Who cares about a party. It’s all Hallows eve! A night to celebrate with ghost and black cats. We’re going out and having fun whether you like it or not.”

Twenty minutes later I ended up sitting on my front porch freezing in the normal October chill. Also dejected I called my other friend who to my surprise was home. A Christian living with a strict and superstitious mother I didn’t think she would want to do anything that night. She didn’t mind after all since her mother was already asleep and suggested watching The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Upon entering her house, I see the front room set up with popcorn and blankets on the couch. Their alter with loaves of bread, candles, flowers, and pictures was in the corner waiting for the following day’s rituals. Though, in accordance with the previous events, our plans had changed by the time I got there. Her mother had woken up and was on the phone with her family. Since her mother still used a landline, we couldn’t make too much noise so out of respect we went outside instead. Her large backyard allowed for multiple chairs and a large table on one side. The other side was filled with vegetables and climbing vines leading to a large garage. The flowers and different colors made the yard inviting in the daytime. At night the shadows and strange shapes made it eerie, the perfect atmosphere for the night. We rocked in her chairs. The metal cold and a little wet in the again normal sixty-degree weather as the wind again made little tornados around us. We enjoyed the chill of the wind against our body’s now warm from having finished a bottle of wine. To pass the time we discussed local ghost stories and shared personal experiences of the supernatural.

I remember that she spoke of seeing her older brother in the basement, who passed away from cancer when she was young. The basement used to be his room and she would sometimes see him walking through it to go upstairs. I never liked being down there after that. Whereas, I told her about being locked in a bathroom when I was younger. My parents said I had locked myself in it and freaked out. Though, I swear I remember the shower door was shaking and the lights flicked on and off.

After about an hour we exhausted our knowledge of ghost stories and tried to reenter the house. Instead of finding her mother back in her room, we instead found her with additional company as well. Since the two older women took over the house we returned to the yard and put on The Phantom of the Opera soundtrack, a favorite of hers.

Opening another bottle of wine she asked, “Hey, its Halloween, want to find a spell or something to do?”

Looking up at the moon I replied, “Why not, your right it is Halloween. But nothing weird or crazy. It’s Halloween, we don’t need anything real coming after us.”

“No. Ya, of course” she replied with a face to match her sentiment.

Returning inside we did some research online and chose a quick and innocent love spell. Grabbing a candle and some paper we wrote down an affirmation of love. I remember watching the flame dance back and forth from her heater. Burning its image in my eyes, I saw it dance around after I looked away. We burned our pieces of paper outside as to not concern her mother. The smell reminded me of my apartment fire that caused us to have to wait for a neighbor to bring his ladder to get out. The memory left me shaken and weary of the night.   

“It’s kinda cold out here. Stupid heat, it’s your fault.” I said to her.

“How is it my fault? She laughed at me. “Your right, let’s go back inside they made coffee.”

After coffee and some sweets, we were able to watch our movie while the women went downstairs to work on some sewing and gossip. The night wasn’t what I had expected it would turn out, and it was as high and low as the weather was that day. Even after having an amazing end to the evening, I kept my bitterness about the botched day. Till this day I won’t trust my friend with any holiday outings. In my defense, this is the safe option as she still often bails out on friends and family. Still, that puddle of spoiled plans and annoyances was just that, annoyances. While I was upset about how the day turned out with her. I still can look back with fondness of our joking around during the car ride. I also had the better end of the bargain as I continued the night whereas she went home and fell asleep. For years I felt that the glass was half empty until I looked back on that All Hallows Eve night with an opened mind. The glass was always half full with the night saving the best for last.

The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t

Some days are great, while others turn into a puddle of spoiled plans and annoyances. Years ago on a strange Halloween, my favorite time of the year, I almost regretted even leaving the house. Looking back now at my bittersweet memory I recognize how even more frustrating the day must have been for my friend. Realizing that what was an annoying time for me was a bad day for her and that I should have seen my class half full from the beginning. 

For some reason, the last day of October was a warm eighty degrees. Leaving me unhappy and warm under my makeup and fake blood. A recluse by nature, I was happy to stay in front of my porch all afternoon. Passing out candy to the little kids, and some big ones, coming and going in their monster costumes. This is what I was doing when I heard the phone ringing from the open window. Passing through little tornadoes of leaves I returned inside to answer the phone. 

My normally homebody friend had decided that she would not be a hermit and wanted to attend a Halloween party. After about fifteen minutes of me explaining how I was happy where I was, she told me she was on her way to pick me up. About twenty minutes later a happy and energetic witch pulled up in front of my porch, where I left the bowl of candy for the kids to grab or let’s be honest for one kid to grab.

Always a yapper, she started talking as soon as I reached the car door. “Are you a dead person? Oh, a zombie. Don’t worry about the dirt, as you can see the car is a mess.”

Hopping into the car I jumped from both her creepy ring tone and the distant sound of thunder, the sun disappearing as I closed the car door.

“You okay? Ya, it’s supposed to rain. I want to get a new Oracle deck, some crystal’s, I need another angel stone, a new candle, and like 10 incense boxes.”

“Is that it?” I said laughing as it started to rain. The party was at her favorite metaphysical shop.

“I don’t know, maybe. I would get a reading, but it might be too crowded by the time we get there. That was my mom, she wants milk.”

“You just left,” I said, my heartbeat getting faster. Joy had a bad habit of letting her family dictate what she did. “You told your family you’re going to be out, right? You didn’t drag me out for nothing.”

Bopping to the radio she rolled her eyes at me, “No. Ya, it’s Halloween. We’re good. She just needs milk.”

Going to the store and back only took us twenty minutes, and it took her another ten to get out of her mother’s house. Looking up from the radio I was changing, I saw her bouncing form returning to the car. 

“Um…Do you have a stowaway?” I asked when I saw her little sister behind her.

“She needs a ride home. It’s on the way, so…” she said shrugging with a glitter of joy in her eyes.

My eyes must have been saying something different because when she got into the car she laughed and rolled her eyes at me again. It’s not that I didn’t mind helping her sisters out, but I understood how much pull her family had on her. While I don’t mind riding around with her on errands, today wasn’t one of those days when I could be enjoying the day on my own.

“You know, if plans change don’t wait to tell me. I’m cool with even taking the bus back alright?”

“We still have hours before the party’s over. Stop being a downer” 

“Alright, okay, I’m just saying. Cause her place is in the opposite direction…”

Her laughter cut me off, “We have all night, chill.”

Her heightened spirit soothed me, and I let it go. Though, as I saw snowflakes start to fall, I felt more uncertain about that All Hallows’ Eve night.

We made another pit stop at the store for her sister and thirty minutes later were dropping her off. Heading back to our original destination I felt proud and happy. I was proud of my friend for finding time to help her family while still heading out to enjoy herself for a change. While I was happy that I made time to go out with my friend instead of finding an excuse to stay home. Looking for parking we finish up our trash talk about one another, our way to discuss our anxieties, when her creepy ring tone goes off.    

“Don’t answer it.” I tell her.

Against my better judgment, she goes in her purse and rummaged around for her phone. After stopping in to say hi and bye with the promise of returning we’re back in the car to pick up her other sister. 

“It’s okay if we don’t make it back in time, we’ll just go out to eat. Is that okay?” She asked sounding a little bummed but still bouncing to the radio.

Smiling I shrugged off the change of plans and agreed. Any stragglers from the party would end up at the wing place across the way, so as far as I was concerned it would be the same as going to the party any. If not, then we could always go to the 24-hour Huck Finn like always. Back in good spirits, we continue our good-natured arguments on the way to her sister’s job. Picking her up and dropping her off took another hour and indeed we were too late for the party. Not caring at this point she parks the car and we head to the restaurant.

“We’ll have one drink. I don’t want you leaving your car again. We’ll get a bottle on the way home”

“Ya, I don’t want to do that again. But a margarita, right?”

Almost at the door, her purse starts playing creepy music again. I don’t remember how I reacted, but I remember her head bowing and the defeat in her eyes. She could have ignored the call, but I knew she wouldn’t. Another errand that nobody else could have done later found us another hour away from our normal haunts.      

Dejected she says, “I’m going to drop you off. I’m just going home.”

At the time, and even years later I hated her for that night. She was the one that wanted to go out in the first place. Lost was a pleasant memory of giving our candy to trick or treaters. Now a past time that isn’t really done anymore, even before the pandemic. In my last-ditch effort, I remember yelling a monologue.

“No! I refuse to let you give up. We’ve been in this car all evening instead of giving out candy, or eating it. We have all night. Who cares about a party. It’s all Hallows eve! A night to celebrate with ghost and black cats. We’re going out and having fun whether you like it or not.”

Twenty minutes later I ended up sitting on my front porch freezing in the normal October chill. Also dejected I called my other friend who to my surprise was home. A Christian living with a strict and superstitious mother I didn’t think she would want to do anything that night. She didn’t mind after all since her mother was already asleep and suggested watching The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Upon entering her house, I see the front room set up with popcorn and blankets on the couch. Their alter with loaves of bread, candles, flowers, and pictures was in the corner waiting for the following day’s rituals. Though, in accordance with the previous events, our plans had changed by the time I got there. Her mother had woken up and was on the phone with her family. Since her mother still used a landline, we couldn’t make too much noise so out of respect we went outside instead. Her large backyard allowed for multiple chairs and a large table on one side. The other side was filled with vegetables and climbing vines leading to a large garage. The flowers and different colors made the yard inviting in the daytime. At night the shadows and strange shapes made it eerie, the perfect atmosphere for the night. We rocked in her chairs. The metal cold and a little wet in the again normal sixty-degree weather as the wind again made little tornados around us. We enjoyed the chill of the wind against our body’s now warm from having finished a bottle of wine. To pass the time we discussed local ghost stories and shared personal experiences of the supernatural.

I remember that she spoke of seeing her older brother in the basement, who passed away from cancer when she was young. The basement used to be his room and she would sometimes see him walking through it to go upstairs. I never liked being down there after that. Whereas, I told her about being locked in a bathroom when I was younger. My parents said I had locked myself in it and freaked out. Though, I swear I remember the shower door was shaking and the lights flicked on and off.

After about an hour we exhausted our knowledge of ghost stories and tried to reenter the house. Instead of finding her mother back in her room, we instead found her with additional company as well. Since the two older women took over the house we returned to the yard and put on The Phantom of the Opera soundtrack, a favorite of hers.

Opening another bottle of wine she asked, “Hey, its Halloween, want to find a spell or something to do?”

Looking up at the moon I replied, “Why not, your right it is Halloween. But nothing weird or crazy. It’s Halloween, we don’t need anything real coming after us.”

“No. Ya, of course” she replied with a face to match her sentiment.

Returning inside we did some research online and chose a quick and innocent love spell. Grabbing a candle and some paper we wrote down an affirmation of love. I remember watching the flame dance back and forth from her heater. Burning its image in my eyes, I saw it dance around after I looked away. We burned our pieces of paper outside as to not concern her mother. The smell reminded me of my apartment fire that caused us to have to wait for a neighbor to bring his ladder to get out. The memory left me shaken and weary of the night.   

“It’s kinda cold out here. Stupid heat, it’s your fault.” I said to her.

“How is it my fault? She laughed at me. “Your right, let’s go back inside they made coffee.”

After coffee and some sweets, we were able to watch our movie while the women went downstairs to work on some sewing and gossip. The night wasn’t what I had expected it would turn out, and it was as high and low as the weather was that day. Even after having an amazing end to the evening, I kept my bitterness about the botched day. Till this day I won’t trust my friend with any holiday outings. In my defense, this is the safe option as she still often bails out on friends and family. Still, that puddle of spoiled plans and annoyances was just that, annoyances. While I was upset about how the day turned out with her. I still can look back with fondness of our joking around during the car ride. I also had the better end of the bargain as I continued the night whereas she went home and fell asleep. For years I felt that the glass was half empty until I looked back on that All Hallows Eve night with an opened mind. The glass was always half full with the night saving the best for last.

Published by Linda Marie

Hello, I'm a stay-at-home-mom, student, and aspiring author currently working hard at becoming a freelance writer and blogger. I love writing, reading, and having discussions with people. Please join me at my blog Books and More where I discuss and analyze all things literature and then some.

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