I grew up in northeastern Ohio. Back in the day (as the current expression goes) carving a pumpkin face then trick or treating on Halloween was a big deal. Like kids everywhere my brother and I carefully chose our costumes--except for one season when Mom picked that year's outfit for me.
I don't remember why she did, but at eight I was mortified to have to dress as a bright orange pumpkin! Nevertheless, with the promise of treats in mind and my little brother in tow, I loped through our neighborhood in the dark, ringing doorbells and filling our bags with candy, cookies, apples, and more candy. As a big sister, I knew this trek could be a dangerous undertaking. According to suburban legend in our town, an elderly doctor who lived in a spooky-looking brick house with all its shades drawn lured unsuspecting children inside each Halloween--and they were never seen again. This, of course, lent an atmosphere of delicious terror to the pitch-dark night.
Already trembling in our shoes, my brother and I managed to survive the encounter. In fact, somewhat to our disappointment, the doctor seemed perfectly normal. Nice, really. Breathless with relief, we soon ran up to another house on a different block, rang the bell, and dumped our treats into the bags. Heady with success by this time we turned the corner, climbed a set of steps to a porch, and repeated our routine. "Trick or treat!"
But when the door opened, who was standing there, glowering? Not that doctor, who I'm sure was innocent. No, like Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird, I came smack up against the frightening Boo Radley in the flesh. "Weren't you kids just here?" he growled with a suspicious glance at my orange pumpkin suit. Busted. I wasn't exactly invisible. We had inadvertently come to the same door, the same house as the one just before. It had a wraparound porch that faced on two streets. We weren't really double-dipping, and like the "evil" doctor, "Boo Radley" wasn't really an ogre. Ah, the imagination of an earnest little girl. Maybe she should have been a writer....
Where I live now, and write, on a mountain far from my hometown, the nights are even darker than the Halloweens of my childhood. Or so they seem. I still love this scary time of year, and things that go bump in the night, and having a pumpkin to carve, not to mention buying candy for this year's Trick or Treat handout (and of course, some Dove chocolates just for me). But my favorite memory of Halloween is that long-ago march through the fallen leaves in my pumpkin costume (Mom's choice, bless her heart). If I still had it, and it fit the larger, more whimsical me, I think I'd wear it.