Published in The ‘Burnian, Thursday October 26, 1978. Written by Feature Editor Robin Kirk. Section “Out of the Blue”
A Bewitching Eve
By Robin Kirk
The scuffle of the frost-bitten leaves across concrete sidewalks invariably makes me think of Halloween. Costumes and candy, lighted orange pumpkins, windblown clouds scattered the length of the midnight sky, and the greedy anticipation of satiation at last. No more “that’s enough.” I could eat till I was content, and I always did. Usually, I ended up as a ghost and that did not disturb me. Sweaters could be layered on underneath the sheet, and if any caped or booted strangers happened to follow me mysteriously…I was able to throw my disguise off and run madly away.
As I grew older my interests changed. Halloween was still my favorite holiday, but it was given a new twist. Instead of venturing out into the spirited night with my transportable costume, I wove a net of fear and terror around my house for the thoroughly suspecting trick-or-treaters. Piped electrical organ music seeped out faintly into the red illuminated front lawn. An executioner’s black-tipped axe hung precariously off the roof directly over a mannequin’s ketchup smattered plastic face. A flowing figure graced the roof, and periodically it would shift position. Once an arm, then the head…only the most hearty of travellers would approach the menacing stoop.
After gingerly pressing the doorbell, they would step back, feeling the thudding beats of their hearts. Silence, silence, silence. The black oaken door would slowly and noiselessly swing open, revealing only a void. With eyes gaping wide these happy victims would see a man seemingly floating toward them from the back of the hall. He would greet them in his deep voice and invite them to enter. To their right Igor stood, his back a lump of gross proportions. At the top of the front stairs lay the mad woman, expectantly yet menacingly set, was their left. Hershey bars were meted frugally out to the band.
Suddenly, before they could discern the improprieties of the staging, the action began. Igor attacked the host with a saw, the mad woman ran toward them, arms open wide below a scarred face, wildly drooling. A body dropped from the ceiling, and something howled purposefully from a distance. Usually, your victims were out the door before the recorded howls were turned on.
Nine o’clock signalled the end of our “party.” After we finished breaking down the horrors (leaving the axe on the roof for the school-goers to remember), various drafted friends, retreated to the basement to drink out T.J. and beer, reminiscing about out dramatic skills.
One of the first things that I thought about when I arrived here was Halloween. What does a dorm-bound college freshman do with this druid, Celtic eve? Should I advance into the adult, costume party version of Halloween? Or, will I resort to trick-or-treating, inevitably facing the “aren’t you too old” queries with a downcast glance?
I predict I will not do either. Tuesday morning will be normal. I will go to Chemistry, making no mysterious potions. In Algebra, I will only solve equations, not cast magical mathematical fortunes. There will be no witchcraft demonstrations in the Bookstore, and dinner will proceed as usual. But…when the hour’s stop and the night flies free…after the ragged witches who scream at the full moon wheeling dangerously in the sky…before the shrieking ghouls, the quiet axeman, the vampires, and will-o’-the wisps, the myriad black-eyed ghosts, after and before them all, the dark caverns of midnight, I will disappear from Blackburn and vanish into the howling night, scattering the dying leaves around the venturesome spirits, exciting the visions in the sky.