Tricked on Halloween

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When I was a very small child, like most kids, I’d go trick or treating with my best friend. One of the parents went along to keep an eye on us. Back in those days, we could safely go to any home, ring the doorbell, and the treats we’d get would be safe for human consumption. No one even thought of studding apples with razor blades or drugging candy. It was a much more innocent time.


My most memorable Halloween happened when I was about age 5. We’d recently moved into our new house. There were still several vacant lots so the parents worried more about snakes and rats than they did about harm coming from humans. It was Dr. Scofield’s (Kathy’s dad and dentist extraordinaire) turn to take us trick or treating. I think it was Kathy’s younger brother, Mark’s first year to go door-to-door, so Dr. S pulled the short straw.


Our neighborhood was full of little kids all about the same age as we were. I think the parents enjoyed meeting up out on the street and watching us all running to doors in great anticipation of the goodies we were about to receive. I’m sure that the parents were all comparing notes as to how much candy we could have that night and how to hide the rest so that it could be carefully dispersed at later dates (and so they could get their share).


Most of the night was uneventful. Kathy, Mark and I went from neighbor to neighbor, ringing bells, and shouting in our most ferocious voices, “TRICK OR TREAT!” We knew to only go to doors where the light was on.


Then we got to the Reids’ house. The front porch light wasn’t on, but there was a light on in the garage by the back door. In we went to ring the button under the light and make our presence known. I pushed the lit button with my normal anticipation. “Trick or …” As soon as I pushed the button, there was a whirring noise and the garage door started to close. The light started blinking on and off. Now, this was back in the late 1950s and none of us had – or had even seen – automatic garage door openers. Obviously, the Reids had one, but (as we came to find out later) it was broken.


The door was manic! Up/down, up/down, all at a pretty fair rate of speed. On went the light, then off. At first, we were too shocked to even scream. Then it hit us. We were in a haunted garage! I tried pushing the button again and again. In my child’s mind, maybe that would make it stop.


When we finally found our voices to scream, it was almost in unison. Here were three small children, huddled in the garage with a possessed garage door opener. Dr. S sprang into action. He timed the door opening and ran in and grabbed Mark and Kathy. On went the light and off. Up went the door and down. Nothing would stop it. Of course that left me all alone in the ghostly garage. I knew I wasn’t going to make it. I’d been left behind.


In one more, heroic dash, Dr. S. ran through the door. I was saved! Inexplicitly, Dr. S ran in again. We were sure he was off to vanquish the evil that had tried to keep us in that horrifying space. To this day, I don’t know how he did it (and, sadly, Dr. S. passed away many years ago so I’ll never know), but he stopped the door. He walked out with a very solemn expression. It must have been very hard for him to not laugh at us. When I think about it, he had to be in his late 20s or very early 30s. I got to go home first. My parents were dumbstruck when they opened the door to a tear-streaked child who couldn’t stop shaking. Dr. S. told them I was fine and that they’d better come outside so he could explain.


He must have made it very brief, because both parents were back inside in no time. Dad took charge of calming me down. I honestly don’t know how any of them weren’t laughing themselves silly. I guess knowing that their child(ren) had been frightened out of their minds helped keep them calm until they could get us quieted and off to bed. I’m sure after all the trauma was reduced, they all laughed until they cried.


That Halloween was more than 50 years ago. I remember it as clearly as if it was yesterday. To this day, I will not push the button on our garage door opener unless my other hand is firmly on the door back into the house.


What’s your most memorable Halloween story?


Up Next: Not sure! Guess we’ll all have to wait and see.


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6 thoughts on “Tricked on Halloween

  1. Oh my-bless your heart! I’m glad the Dr. was there to save you though : ) I have lots of memories from treak or treating-but the one that popped into my mind was the year my Great Uncle’s girlfriend’s little mean boy broke my mask-while it was on my face!

    • Oh, you poor thing! What an awful thing to do. I hope he didn’t hurt your face. You know, I don’t remember ever being able to wear a mask. I think my mother must have thought I wouldn’t see well enough. (Little did she realize that I’m perfectly able to trip over cracks, rocks, or absolutely nothing – all on my own with nothing “imparing” my vision. 🙂

  2. Tonight is THE night here in Leadmine Bend…..not the last three nights that all the yankee yuppies and puppies celebrate,,,,,,,,I haven’t told this for the five years that we’ve lived here……every 10/31 the spirits of the Beeler clan come down the holler(hollow or ravine in translation) and visit the graveyard of their departed kin……the dogs are very nervous and agitated….not barking,but shaking and whining onthe porch…wanting to come in the house……this being Beeler homesteads and houses long since gone,the misdeeds of TVA in taking their homes and family traditions are still an unforgiven act….since I am a native of East Tennessee,my presence on the land of their forefathers must be accepted because they never acknowledge me or the dogs…..similar stories of other graveyards have been told to me …….no known incidents of violence or vandalism has been reported that can be attributed to this …….will keep you all informed…….Eric

    • Well, did you make it through the night? Are Gloria, Huck, and Bitsy still with us? Darn, Eric! Our property is directly across from the Beeler cemetary. Do you think they’ll be upset with us when we finally build? Hope not. None of my kin had anything to do with the TVA. ;>

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