Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I'll admit it...Halloween is NOT my favorite holiday.  I lean toward those special days that give me the opportunity to buy presents for the people I care about the most...such as Christmas, and of course, birthdays.  (Yes, I know birthdays aren't technically holidays...except for mine, of course!  I'm working on getting it Nationally recognized--didn't you know??)  Ahem.  Anyway, back to the topic at hand...Halloween.  The costume idea is kind of interesting...I suppose getting the chance to be someone or something else for a few hours can be appealing.  And I do enjoy seeing little kids dressed in their costumes...and grown-ups who are big fans of this holiday, such as my friend L and her husband--who really put a lot of time and effort into their costumes each year, and decorate their home as a haunted house for family and friends.  That's the way to do it!   Where Halloween tends to fall short for me is when I see 18 year olds (or even older) wearing ripped t-shirts and dabs of fake blood dripping from their mouths as they shove candy bags under my nose.  There's no "Trick-or-Treats" or expressions of thanks to accompany their intrusions...and it just doesn't impress me.  I say if you're going to enjoy Halloween the proper way, then put some effort into it! Red dye # 4 oozing from your lip and an old Hanes undershirt does not a costume make...and if you get paid more than I do, well...then you can buy your own candy!

What I do like about Halloween are all the scary movies, especially the classics, that pop up on the TV around this time of year...such as the 1978 film Halloween with Jamie Lee Curtis.  Back then we shared her fear as she was terrorized by the masked murderer, Micheal Myers.  And I will always watch the scary Alfred Hitchcock classics, such as 1960's Psycho...I dare you to watch that movie and jump in the shower afterward, without shaking and keeping a close eye on the shower curtain!  Another favorite of mine is 1954's Rear Window...what a movie!  When Jimmy Stewart's character L.B. Jeffries realizes his neighbor (the murderer) sees him watching through the window of his apartment, where Jeffries sits helpless with a broken leg...I'm on the edge of my seat!  The fact that those Hitchcock movies are in black and white, makes them even more suspenseful...I think sometimes all that blood and gore can get in the way.

And I have seen the bloodier, gorier movies too...many of them.  And they are frightening--usually I can't sit through movies like that without company!  But I think the more realistic and sometimes simpler movies frighten me more with their suspense alone; they are much scarier in my opinion.  It's more frightening to watch a movie I can actually envision myself in, and share the character's experiences as I bite my nails...and every so often, I'll throw a casual look over my shoulder to make sure I'm still alone.  My favorite type of Halloween is the kind where I can spend it huddled indoors under a blanket--with a scary movie to watch, or a suspenseful book to read.  And since I can't load a movie on here (wait...can I?  I'll have to look into that...) I started searching the great wide web for scary stories.  My father actually found this interesting website which he shared with me, and it's filled with ghost stories (some more frightening than others,) fables, and frightening tales from all over America...they even have videos to watch!  There's also a section of children's ghost stories that are more appropriate for the little ones, and tales to share around the campfire.  If you'd like to check it out as you are stuck indoors on this wintry Halloween weekend, go to:  It might just scare you!

As I explored the different sections of American Folklore, I found an interesting short story from local areas I'm very familiar with...don't worry--it's not too frightening!  I decided to share it with you...see if any of these places sound familiar! 

Fifty-Cent Piece
A New York Ghost Story
retold by
S. E. Schlosser
There is a story told in Troy and Albany about a couple returning home from a trip to New England. They were driving home in a carriage, and were somewhere near Spiegletown when the light failed and they knew they would have to seek shelter for the night.
The husband spied a light through the trees and turned their horse into a small lane leading up a hill. A pleasant little house stood at the crest, and an old man and his wife met the couple at the door. They were in nightclothes and were obviously about to turn in, but they welcomed the travelers and offered them a room. The old woman bustled about making tea and offering freshly-baked cakes. Then the travelers were shown to their room. The husband wanted to pay the old couple for their lodgings, but the old lady shook her head and the old man refused any payment for such a small service to their fellow New Yorkers.
The travelers awoke early and tiptoed out of the house, leaving a shiny fifty-cent coin in the center of the kitchen table where the old couple could not miss it. The husband hitched up the horse and they went a few miles before they broke their fast at a little restaurant in Spiegletown.
The husband mention the nice old couple to the owner of the restaurant and the man turned pale.
"Where did you say that house was?" he asked. The husband described the location in detail.
"You must be mistaken," said the restaurant owner. "That house was destroyed three years ago by a fire that killed the Brown family."
"I don't believe it," the husband said flatly. "Mr. and Mrs. Brown were alive and well last night."
After debating for a few more minutes, the couple and the restaurant owner drove the carriage back out of town towards the old Brown place. They turned into the lane, which was overgrown with weeds, and climbed the hill to the crest. There they found a burned out shell of a house that had obviously not sheltered anyone for a long time.
"I must have missed the track," said the husband. And then his wife gave a terrified scream and fainted into his arms. As he caught her, the husband looked into the ruin and saw a burnt table with a shiny fifty-cent piece lying in the center.

Hope you enjoyed reading that little read more, check out the site and do some exploring.  As for me, I think it's time for hot chocolate, and some Alfred Hitchcock. Happy Halloween, everybody!


  1. That is a great story!! I loved it. We are sitting here, in our family room and watching one of the Halloween movies. I do not enjoy them, but I am busy on my computer anyway!

    And you are so right about the 18 year olds trick or treating!

  2. Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men; the SHADOW knows (creepy laughter here).

  3. Your reprinting of the story was wonderfull .
    I too enjoy the scary side of Halloween , and this tale was delightfull . I must check out the site you left for us , I want more of such wonderfull tales [ smile ] .
    My favorite part of Halloween is the actions and faces of young children as they shyly come to the door , with their parents at the bottem of the steps.So sweet , and thankfull ! As for the "older ones ".... they've simply get a stern look , and don't come back [ smile ] .
    Purhaps one day we'll be reading a scary tale of Halloween penned by our favorite writter ?????
    I loved your dads comment , and must admit I'm old enough to remember , and the creepy laughter ....well done !