It was a balmy night that year as the little girl made her way with her family down the street. She was so excited because she had been looking forward to this all day. They were going trick or treating.
The small girl walked up to each door anticipating the wonderful excitement of screaming boo at the poor unsuspecting adult who would answer her knock. Then the adult would drop handfuls of sweet tasty treats into her bag in appreciation for how frightening she was. She didn’t understand why adults rewarded you for scaring them on this night because normally when an adult told you that you had scared them it meant you were in trouble. Of course to the little girl’s way of thinking not much of what adults did did made any scene to her. Like tonight, her mom and dad had insisted she and her little brothers wear a coat even though it wasn't cold and on top of that they hadn’t worn a coat themselves. Maybe adults were afraid of kids more when they didn’t have something hiding part of their costumes.
The more the little girl thought of this she figured her and her little brothers were scarier than she thought and it might have been a good idea for them to wear the offending overly warm garment. After all she didn’t want to scare people so bad that they wouldn’t get the candy when they screamed boo. Maybe they would even give an old person a heart attack. She remembered her mom saying more than once that she or one of her brothers and even her dad had scared her nearly to death. Maybe she should cut back on the boo part a little, she certainly didn’t want to give an old person a heart attack. She didn’t know what a heart attack was but it didn’t sound like it would be a lot of fun.
The little girl was so caught up in her own thoughts she had stopped paying attention to her surroundings. The long high hedge that she was about to pass didn’t even register in her mind as she drew near.
The poor child was suddenly catapulted back to reality when something horrible jumped out from behind the hedge and stood with its arms stretched over its head growling at her. She looked up into the face of the horrible monster that would soon devour her. The little girl screamed letting out all the fear in her in one piercing howl and dropped her bag of treats. She did the only thing she knew to do and that was to run. She knew she had no chance of outrunning the hideous beast and she could hear her parent’s cries of anguish as well as the heavy footsteps of someone right on her heels. The child put everything she had into a last desperate attempt to outrun the monster.
When the thing reached and jerked her up into his massive arms she fought for everything she was worth. She kicked and screamed, she struck out with her tiny arms and hands and clawed at the beast. She was going to fight until her last breath.
“Cathy, stop it now. It’s your dad honey. I got you. Nothing is going to hurt you.” Cathy’s dad tried to restrain his frightened child but it was taking all he had.
When her father was finally able to get through to her she wrapped her arms around the strong shoulder of her father and buried her head into his neck crying. It broke the man’s heart to see his brave little girl so broken at this moment. He wanted to go back and hit the man who had scared Cathy so bad. He knew however that he couldn’t do that. He knew that his little girl had to face her fears or she would never love Halloween again. She would never go trick or treating again. So with a heavy heart he took his child back to the house with the man who had caused Cathy to run away.
When he stepped up on the porch of the house the man lived in he had taken off his mask and did everything he could to help calm her. He gave her the mask he had been wearing for her to examine. Once she realized that like her the man had been in costume she got mad at herself.
Then the greatest thing happened. The man and his wife started pouring things into her bag as fast as they could. They nearly emptied all of their candy into Cathy’s bag. They even gave her a Coke. Man this was great Cathy thought. All this because I got a good scare and then there it was, her mom’s favorite thing to say.
“Cathy, baby you nearly scared me to death.”
'I scared you?' Cathy thought in disbelief.
Soon the little girl was eager to get back to trick or treating. Now she knew how this worked. Oh yes she was going to make an even bigger haul than she already had. She was ready to go. She had some old people to give heart attacks to tonight.
By Cathy Pace Matthews