Bump in the Attic
My parents had exactly one trick-or-treater this year. This doesn’t come close to the annual average, which is two trick-or-treaters. I answered the door for this brave soul, as she had to venture all the way down our darkened cul-de-sac to reach my parents’ house. It was a little girl as tall as my belly button dressed either as a candy corn or witch. (Do witches usually incorporate orange in their garb?) Or maybe it was a girl dressed as a candy corn donning a witch’s hat. (There was way too much orange to comfortably be a witch.)
The specifics of her costume are not really important. I was just happy to answer the door for anyone that made it that far down Redwood Court. I said she was “cute” in her costume. She said “thank you.”
“Look, I’m giving you half the candy in this pumpkin pail because you’re our first trick-or-treater,” I said.
I then wave to her mother at the mailbox as the little candy witch retreated to her guardian. No one will ring the doorbell for the rest of the night.
It’s a shame because my mother loves holidays. When she got home from work, she put eyeball ice in my cup of Dr. Pepper. Her dedication to fully embrace the scheduled festivities is touching and, sometimes, goes unnoticed.
That’s why I blame the clown in the attic.
A few years ago, my sister and mother arduously competed in a Halloween decorating contest in the apartment complex they were living in at the time. The prize? Two free months of rent. Unlike their unimaginative peers, they were more sinister in their efforts, an allowance that Halloween grants.
According to the apartment manager, they ended up not winning the contest although they were expected to win. The manager explained that the judges, a bunch of churchgoing ladies who volunteered their judging, thought their display was “too much.” They eventually selected the runner-up, a porch filled with blown-up, cute Halloween creatures, as the winner.
There were two culprits. First was an evil, mechanized clown that my sister bought from Party City. Motion-activated, it stabbed at the slightest movement. The other was when my mother, as a last-minute touch, placed a small skeleton atop a grill. The judges apparently found it offensive, thinking it was a stand-in for a charred baby. (To be clear, the skeleton was a scaled-down, adult-sized skeleton, not a baby’s skeleton.)
And unlike the easily jettisoned, glow-in-the-dark skeleton, that killer clown still exists. In the attic.
My sister was the clown’s caretaker until it was deemed too “evil” to live under the same roof as her newborn. The clown was then moved to my parents’ attic, where it was forgotten for the last couple of years. It wasn’t until this Halloween that I climbed into the attic to see it. (I had missed the clown’s heydays because I was in New York for school.) Slung over a wooden beam and its shoes neatly positioned on an antique table, the clown peers from the attic window. In fact, if you squint, you can see the clown from outside. Although it no longer stabs at unsuspecting victims, I maintain that this lifeless hunk of cloth and rubber is an omen of sorts.
It’s probably why no treat-or-treaters venture down Redwood Court.
I made a photo arrangement in honor of Stabby.