The neighborhood kids love me on Halloween. For the past fifteen years, I’ve turned my home into a haunted house for the little ones, giving them a good scare and a quart-size bag of candy on their way out the door. They especially like the full-size Snickers in every bag. Many of them call me the Snickers Lady.
I keep to myself the rest of the year, but every autumn I take to decorating the house and lawn, raiding the local shops for the best sales on candy, and setting my speakers up to my old record player to set the mood for the big night. The locals always wonder how I have the energy for it all. I tell them there’s just something about my favorite holiday that helps keep these old bones young.
The little ones are trickling in, now. I bought a new record this year, and the loud organ music and evil laughter have plastered nervous smiles on their wide-eyed faces. The glow-in-the-dark stickers on the floor direct them through my home—in through the sitting room, through the kitchen, down to the basement and back up, then around through the dining room and out the side door. Their eyes somehow grow even wider when I hand them their candy. That’s my favorite part.
Most children these days aren’t nearly as young as they appear. Their poor eyes have seen too much. The world has always been a big, scary place, but never more so than now—technology has seen to that, and then some. Things were simpler in the old days, when children rarely left their village. Now, they can access the world’s knowledge with the press of a few buttons. Imagine, all the evil in the world brought directly before your very eyes. Such a shame. I’m beginning to think that innocence is a nonrenewable resource.
Which is why I was relieved to finally see it, glowing ever so softly from a miniature witch bouncing around with her large group of friends. One harried adult did her best to herd the rowdy bunch, shouting directions over the blare of the organ, bending low to answer questions, trying desperately to keep the little mob under control. It was perfect.
The last of the trick-or-treaters have gone, and one more successful Halloween is in the books. No one noticed when the tiny witch failed to emerge from the basement with her friends. The woman thanked me as she corralled her charges out the door, none the wiser that one of her flock was missing.
It's time to move on, once again. I think I’ll go somewhere warm. I’ll hang the for-sale sign after the new year, once the search for the girl has died down. She’ll keep me fed for another ten or twenty years. In the meantime, I’ll spend each year showing the local kids that the Snickers Lady gives out the best candy in the neighborhood. In return, they will help keep these old bones young.
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