Trick or Treating: Story and Illustration by Dena McMurdie

I stared at the big empty house on the hill
As the hair on my neck stood up with the chills.
Did I dare make my way up that creepy old stair
To look at the old woman rocking her chair?

Trick or treating is fun – that’s what they say.
But no one’s gone treating over this way.
I’m the only one brave enough to come near,
If the steps creak, do you think that she’ll hear?

I took a deep breath and I started to walk
Step by step up the stairs, too frightened to talk.
The steps DID creak, and loudly too!
My feet started to shake uncontrolled in their shoes.

A shadow passed by the light of the door
Gliding so quietly over the floor.
My throat was so dry, my tongue is so numb.
Why didn’t I come before the set sun?

I gulped very loudly, t’was something to hear
Quickly brushing away quite a small tear.
The pit of my tummy churned as a knot
And I thought of the woman, stirring her pot.

Tale had it that she was a witch
Who ate little children who dared make the pitch
To come close enough on Halloween night
to ask for candy by gulping their fright.

This reminder was clear as the voice in my head
Remembering all the stories they’d said.
“Billy boy braved the house one year.
Never came back, that’s what I hear.”

“Margaret went up on a dare,
Disappeared without even a care.”
Fear gripped my heart and turned it to stone
And I felt chilled right down to my bones.

That did it – I made up my mind
I turned and moved my behind
As fast as I could I ran from that place.
I’ve never ran faster, not even at race.

I didn’t care what the kids at school say;
They weren’t the ones on the steps that dark day.
She could be sweet and lovely and neat,
But I know that I’m not too good to eat!

I realize that it is quite a bit early to be posting Halloween stories and illustrations, but that is what I’ve been working on lately.
Just about every child grows up thinking that at least one house in their neighborhood is haunted. There is always the house that children dare each other to go to, especially on Halloween. I was much like the character in this story, I would make it halfway up the steps, then fear would overtake me and I would high tail it away from there. This story is reminiscent of children’s experiences on Halloween night – braving the dark and the spooky homes to reach the ultimate goal: a full bag of candy.

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